Turkish helicopter shot down by Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin

Turkish helicopter shot down by Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin

Turkish helicopter shot down by Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin

(37), who were driving the pick-up truck, were reportedly detained by the police.

F-16 fighters of the Turkish Air Force are involved in the operation, inflicting strikes on the positions of PYD/YPG on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Putin spoke by telephone on Thursday and agreed to strengthen military and security service coordination in Syria, according to the Kremlin.

The Turkish military in a statement did not specify a reason for why the helicopter fell.

In a statement, the Turkish military said that air strikes destroyed shelters, hideouts and ammunition depots belonging to the YPG and the Islamic State group, which Turkey says it is also combating in the operation.

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The YPG claimed they brought down the helicopter, but Turkish officials did not confirm that account.

The military also said "utmost diligence" was shown to avoid collateral damage to civilians. Diplomacy is making no progress toward ending a war, now approaching its eighth year, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced half the pre-war Syrian population of 23 million from their homes. Russian Federation has been one of President Bashar Assad's strongest supporters, intervening in 2015 to tip the balance of power in his favor.

Turkey on January 20 launched its operation into the northwestern district of Afrin to remove the YPG, which Ankara considers a terrorist group for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Located in the outskirt of capital Damascus, Eastern Ghouta was declared a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are forbidden.

An airstrike Friday on the village of Hass in Idlib province killed at least 14 people, according to the Observatory and other opposition activists.

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As Ruth reported on Wednesday, intensifying government attacks on civilians - including the bombings in eastern Ghouta, multiple attacks in Idlib and reported chlorine gas attacks - "have been interpreted partly as a response to the rebel downing of a Russian Su-25 plane Saturday near Saraqeb".

"We regrettably have chose to halt the second term of the school year due to the attacks on Afrin", Salaw Hamosharo, the spokeswoman of the Afrin Education Commission, told VOA.

The OCHA said education activities in Idlib witnessed repeated interruptions due to the ongoing hostilities in the past two months.

"Over 300 primary, secondary and high schools have been closed down", she added.

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During the operation, the Syrian air defense launched missiles to shoot down an F-16 fighter jet of the Israeli Air Force. This was the first major incident after the Fijians moved back to the Syrian side in November 2016 from the Israeli side.

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