Afrin day 8: Two Turkish soldiers killed, 11 wounded - army

20:30 Two Turkish soldiers killed, 11 wounded - Turkish army

Two Turkish soldiers were killed and 11 wounded during the clashes with Syrian Kurdish militia, Turkish army said in a statement on Saturday. 

Two members of the Free Syrian Army were also killed and four wounded, it said.

The number of Turkish soldiers killed in Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish-held Afrin enclave in northern Syria reached five since Jan. 20.

16.32 Turkish military making tactical mistakes in Afrin – Russian military expert

Turkish military tactics against the Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin leave its forces open to surprise attack and Turkish air strikes are unlikely to hit their targets, Sputnik Turkey quoted a Russian military expert as saying.

“Turkish forces are using roads in order to advance through the mountain areas in the Afrin region,” said Vladimir Yevseyev, a military expert and the director of the Public Policy Research Centre at the Valdai Club think-tank. “This is not very clever."

15.23 Turkish MP resigns as Socialist International deputy head over Afrin

A member of parliament for Turkey’s main opposition party resigned as deputy head of the Socialist International after the global association of 153 social democratic political parties warned of a humanitarian disaster as a result of Turkey’s offensive against the Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin.

“I am resigning over the statement entitled ‘the SI warns of another humanitarian disaster in Syria',” Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentarian Umut Oran said.

15.04 Turkey tells U.S. to withdraw from Kurdish-controlled region of Manbij

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on the United States to withdraw from the area of Manbij in northern Syria immediately on Saturday.

U.S. forces are currently in the area to train and equip soldiers affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Turkey considers a terrorist organisation.


13.35 11 children killed in Afrin during Turkish operation – UNICEF

Children are being killed across Syria in the ongoing civil war, with 11 killed in the Kurdish-held district of Afrin since the start of the joint Turkish–Free Syrian Army operation in the area, humanitarian aid news portal ReliefWeb reported United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as saying.

“UNICEF received alarming reports of at least 11 children killed and many more injured in ongoing violence in Afrin district, northwest Syria,” the UN agency said.

12.30 U.S. confirms it will stop arming YPG - Turkish presidency spokesman

Following a phone call with U.S. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, Turkish presidency spokesman İbrahim Kalın said that the United States had agreed to stop arming the majority-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

"Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said she had seen media reports about the phone call, but was not aware of any change in U.S. posture," Reuters said.

10.11 Turkish Armed Forces announce latest figures in Afrin

The Turkish Armed Forces have announced that 394 People's Protection Units (YPG) and Islamic State (ISIS) fighters have so far been killed in Afrin, and 340 terrorist targets have been destroyed.

09.50 Syrian opposition to boycott Sochi talks

The Syrian opposition have announced they will boycott talks in Russia next week which they believe are an attempt to bypass the official peace talks process.

Yahya al-Aridi, a spokesman for the opposition delegation, said that the opposition had not seen sufficient commitment from other parties at UN-hosted peace talks in Vienna to continue the process at Sochi.


08.54 Turkish doctors say Erdoğan made them a target

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) released a statement expressing concern that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had made them a target and saying that the government has the responsibility to protect freedom of expression.

Erdoğan on Friday criticised the country’s largest association of medical professionals by naming them in his speech in Ankara and calling them “terrorist-lovers”.

08.38 Journalists come under fire in Afrin

A group of journalists being taken on a tour around the warzone by the Turkish Prime Ministry Directorate-General of Press and Information came under fire near the town of Azaz, pro-government NTV said.

The fire, which the channel said came from majority-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants, burst one of the tyres of the armoured convoy but did not lead to any deaths or injuries.


(All times Turkish)

All updates about the seventh day of Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin are here.