Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Two Turkish pilots die in Syria crash

Anna Jefferson | 12 February, 2018, 03:05

Turkey launched the military operation on the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in northern Syria on January 20, citing national security.

Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a helicopter had been shot down without saying who was responsible.

The Turkish military said one of its helicopters crashed at 1300 (1000 GMT) killing two military personnel but did not give a reason for the incident, only saying that an investigation had been launched.

"There is no evidence that it was downed by an outside intervention", Yildirim said.

"One of the two Atak helicopters of ours operating on Afrin region unfortunately collapsed".

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the deaths in a televised address on Saturday.

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Mustefa Bali, spokesperson for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces dominated by the YPG, said on Twitter that a helicopter had been hit in the Rajo area of northwest Afrin, near the Turkish border. "We might lose a helicopter, but they'll pay the price for this", he said in Istanbul.

"After seven years of paralysis in the (U.N.) Security Council, the situation in Syria is crying out to be referred to the International Criminal Court, as well as for a much more concerted effort by States to bring peace", Zeid said in a statement.

While the US has worked to strengthen the Syrian Kurdish force, called the YPG, to help combat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization within its borders.

The YPG - trained, armed and supported by the U.S. to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - control a swath of land in northern Syria.

In a statement, the military said the Turkish Armed Forces had destroyed 19 YPG targets and "neutralized" 86 more militants during operations since February 10.

Turkey issued a detention warrant Friday against Kemalbey over her opposition to Turkey's current military offensive in northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG.

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