Two Turkish troops killed as helicopter downed

Turkish soldiers rescue old couple in Afrin operation

A Turkish military combat helicopter crashed on Saturday in northwestern Syria's Afrin during the ongoing operation, and two soldiers were killed, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.

Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said: "One of our helicopters was downed just recently".

At least 1,266 People's Protection Units (YPG) militants have been "neutralized" since the beginning of "Operation Olive Branch" in Syria's Afrin district, the Turkish General Staff said on February 11.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier Saturday the helicopter was downed as part of country's military action against US-backed Syrian Kurds in the area.

"Of course, these kinds of things will happen".

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Turkey considers the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a bloody, decades-long armed campaign. We are in a war.

"One of the two Atak helicopters of ours operating on Afrin region unfortunately collapsed. We will have losses, but we will cause the other side to have losses as well", he said in a televised speech, vowing to make the perpetrators pay "a much heavier price". However, the term is usually used for the terrorists who have been killed in the operations.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on global law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, the military said. Calling for "urgent worldwide action" to protect civilians, Zeid also slammed what he called an "epic failure of global diplomacy" to end the seven-year-old war. Some 148 YPG fighters and 157 Syrian opposition fighters have been killed in three weeks of fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Rebels fired shells from Eastern Ghouta into Damascus, striking popular squares in and around the old city, Syrian state media reported.

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