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Turkish helicopter shot down by Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin - Erdogan

February 11, 2018 at 12:39 pm

A military helicopter flies during an operation against PKK militants in Hakkari, Turkey on 30 December 2016 [Özkan Bilgin / Anadolu Agency]

Turkish army helicopter was shot down by Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters near the north Syrian town of Afrin, Reuters reports President Tayyip Erdogan as saying on Saturday.

“One of our helicopters was downed just recently,” Erdogan said speaking to members of his AK Party (AKP) in Istanbul. “These things will happen, we are in a war… We might lose a helicopter, but they’ll pay the price for this.”

He did not mention any casualties.

YPG sources separately confirmed the downing of the helicopter, the first officially confirmed destruction of a Turkish aircraft over Syria during the country’s long-running civil war.

A statement from the Turkish military did not specify a reason for why the helicopter crashed. It said two soldiers on board were killed and technical crews were investigating the crash.

In another statement, the Turkish military said a total of nine soldiers were killed and 11 wounded on Saturday in clashes with mainly Kurdish forces near Afrin. It said it had killed 39 militants.

Ankara launched an air and ground offensive last month against Kurdish fighters in Syria’s Afrin region on its border, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war.

Read: Assad quietly aids Syrian Kurds against Turkey