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Turkish army says 31 soldiers killed in Syria operation

AFP  |  Ankara 

The Turkish today said 31 soldiers had been killed since launched its offensive against a Kurdish militia in last month.

Another 143 Turkish soldiers were wounded in the operation dubbed "Olive Branch" which began on January 20 against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in the western region of Afrin, a statement said.

While the has given armed support to the against the Islamic State group in Syria, says the militia is a "terrorist" offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK, proscribed as a terrorist organisation by and its Western allies, has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.

has been supporting Syrian rebels with ground troops and air strikes during the operation which has threatened to extend eastwards towards other YPG-held towns.

suffered its bloodiest day on Saturday when 11 personnel were killed, including two after a helicopter taking part in the offensive was downed.

Some 1,369 "terrorists" had been neutralised during the operation, the said, referring to those killed but also those captured or wounded.

It was not immediately possible to verify this figure.

But according to the Britain-based for Human Rights, 152 fighters and 165 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have died in the operation.

The Observatory said at least 74 civilians have been killed in the operation so far.

Turkey has repeatedly insisted it is taking all the necessary precautions to avoid harming civilians and says there have been no civilian casualties to date.

At least seven civilians have been killed in Turkish border towns after rockets were sent from in attacks Ankara blames on the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 20:35 IST