Afrin Day 23: 31 Turkish soldiers killed since the operation started

13:00 31 Turkish soldiers killed since the operation started

The Turkish military has announced the death of another soldier in Ankara’s operation against a Syrian Kurdish militia in northern Syria, AP reported.

Sunday’s announcement brings to 31 the number of Turkish soldiers killed in 22 days, since the operation against the Syrian Kurdish militia started on Jan. 20 with Ankara’s cross-border incursion into the enclave of Afrin.

Saturday was the deadliest single day for Turkey, with 11 Turkish soldiers killed, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday announcing that a Turkish military helicopter was “downed” in the Afrin operation.

The military’s Sunday statement said the soldier died in clashes with the Syrian Kurdish group, People’s Protection Units (YPG), AP said.

Turkey considers the YPG to be “terrorist organisation” and claims it is linked to an outlawed Kurdish insurgent group operating within Turkey's own borders.

11:00 1,266 militia 'neutralised' in Turkey's Afrin operation - military

At least 1,266 militia from the Syrian Kurdish groups and Islamic State have been "neutralized" since the beginning of Turkey's incursion into Syria's Afrin, Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu (AA) quoted an army statement as saying.

Turkish authorities use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured, AA said.

Ankara considers the Kurdish armed groups in Turkey, Syria and Iraq as one and the same, and says the military offensive targets Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been involved in a bloody separatist conflict in southeast Turkey intermittently since 1984, Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) which leads the coalition of political parties that rule the de facto autonomous region in northern Syria since mid-2012, and its armed force, People's Protection Units (YPG).

Ankara also says the Afrin offensive also targets Daesh, a name it uses for the extremist jihadist Islamic State, in the northwestern Syria. Kurdish sources deny any Islamic State presence in the region.

(All times Turkish)

All updates about the twenty-second day of Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin are here:

Afrin Day 22: 11 Turkish troops killed in deadliest day of Kurdish offensive - Turkish military