Turkish soldier dies in northwest Syria

One Turkish soldier was killed in northern Syria’s Afrin province during clashes with Kurdish fighters, Iraqi Kurdish news outlet Rudaw reported on Thursday.

Specialist Sergeant Mehmet Altun was killed in Operation Olive Branch territory, according to a statement by the governorate in Turkey’s Hatay province, which borders Afrin.

Altun was killed in clashes with terrorist groups that infiltrated the region, the Turkish Defence Ministry said in a tweet, pointing to Syrian-Kurdish led People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey’s military and its Syrian rebel allies seized control of Afrin, a mainly Kurdish region, from the YPG in Operation Olive Branch in March 2018, one of a series of Turkish military incursions into northern Syria.

Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist group over its alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey since 1984.