Turkey resumes airstrikes on Kurdish-held enclave

Turkey resumes airstrikes on Kurdish-held enclave

Turkey resumes airstrikes on Kurdish-held enclave

The Turkish army announced that two of its soldiers were killed on board of a helicopter, which was shot down during Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin.

The military said the offensive, code-named Operation Olive Branch, is aimed at the Kurdish militants "to protect the friendly and brotherly people of that area from the oppression of these terrorist groups".

Five of those, including two children, were killed in the region's main town of Douma, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said. "That is not realistic", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters.

In a statement, the military said the Turkish Armed Forces had "destroyed" 36 YPG targets and "neutralized" 79 YPG militants in airstrikes that were carried out overnight on February 10.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also expected to visit for more talks early next week.

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"Attacks on health facilities in Idlib Governorate continued with an alarming frequency", it added.

The Syrian government also has been pressing its campaign in a rebel-held area near the capital of Damascus. On Friday, the military said one soldier was killed during clashes with the YPG the Afrin region.

The Israeli air force said it has air sorties against more than 100 Syrian arms convoys and vehicles belonging to Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Assad's forces, since the Syrian Civil War began more than six years ago.

Turkish forces claim that hundreds of Kurdish militia fighters have been "neutralized" in a series of military sorties, while militias such as the the YPG had before Saturday claimed more than a dozen Turkish casualties.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to hear a briefing on Thursday and then hold closed-door consultations on the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria and calls for a 30-day cease fire. A stronghold of Islamic State militants until late previous year, the province also was the group's main source of oil revenue.

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Afrin-based Kurdish official Rezan Hiddo said by telephone that Turkish warplanes hit 23 points, adding that Turkey's artillery in three areas near Afrin have been pounding the town.

Regime bombing raids left 38 civilians dead on Wednesday, the Observatory said in a new toll.

The Iranian president further underlined the need for boosting trilateral ties among Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation and welcomed an upcoming meeting in Istanbul between the three countries' presidents on the Syria crisis.

Gen. McMaster, who led the US delegation during the two-day diplomatic visit to Turkey, "discussed the priorities and concerns of both countries ... their common strategic challenges and regional developments" with İbrahim Kalın, spokesman and special adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a White House readout of the meeting released Sunday.

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