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17 People Killed in Turkish Air Raids in Syria


Kurds living in Cyprus shout slogans during a demonstration against the Turkish offensive on Kurdish forces in northwest Syria, March 1, 2018, outside the Russian Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Turkish warplanes attacked two positions of pro-Syrian government forces overnight, killing at least 17 people in the northwestern Kurdish enclave of Afrin, the British-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.

The Observatory said the airstrikes took place late Thursday in the village of Jamaa.

The dead included three members of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, while the others were pro-Syrian militias who entered Afrin last week to help repel a Turkish offensive, the Observatory said.

The YPG militia confirmed the attack in a statement, saying the airstrikes killed and wounded several fighters.

Turkey’s military said in a statement that Turkish-made ATAK helicopters struck a region in western Afrin, killing nine “terrorists,’’ but did not provide further details.

It was not immediately clear whether the airstrikes were in retaliation for the deaths of eight Turkish soldiers killed in the region Thursday.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebel groups began their operation against the YPG in Afrin in January, aiming to drive the group out of the region.

Ankara considers the Kurdish militia as a terrorist group linked to an insurgency inside Turkey’s borders.

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