MESOP NEWS “BODY COUNT” : Acording to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 152 YPG fighters and 165 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have died in the operation.
ANKARA,— 13 Febr 2018 – The Turkish army on Monday said 31 soldiers had been killed since Ankara launched its offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) last month.Another 143 Turkish soldiers were wounded in the operation dubbed “Olive Branch” which began on January 20 against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in the western Kurdish region of Afrin, a statement said.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Press Office on Monday released balance sheet of the invasion attacks by the Turkish army and allied fighters since Ankara launched its offensive on Afrin. Accordingly, 862 members of the Turkish army and allied mercenary fighters were killed and 98 Kurdish fighters fell as martyrs during this period, Firat News Agency ANF reported.
While the United States has given armed support to the YPG against the Islamic State group in Syria, Turkey says the militia is a “terrorist” offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).Turkey is using YPG as pretext to invade the Syrian Kurdish region in order not allow Kurds to establish an autonomous region in Syrian Kurdistan, analysts say.
Turkey has been supporting Syrian rebels, considered as mercenary fighters for Turkey, with ground troops and air strikes during the operation which Ankara has threatened to extend eastwards towards other YPG-held towns.Turkey suffered its bloodiest day on Saturday when 11 military personnel were killed, including two after a helicopter taking part in the offensive was downed.
Some 1,369 “terrorists” had been neutralised during the operation, the army said, referring to those killed but also those captured or wounded.It was not immediately possible to verify this figure.But according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 152 YPG fighters and 165 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have died in the operation.
The Observatory said at least 74 civilians have been killed in the operation so far.Turkey has repeatedly insisted it is taking all the necessary precautions to avoid harming civilians and says there have been no civilian casualties to date. At least seven civilians have been killed in Turkish border towns after rockets were sent from Syria in attacks Ankara blames on the YPG.
Ankara, which still denies the constitutional existence of its own Kurds numbering to 22.5 million, fears the creation of a Kurdish autonomous region or Kurdish state in Syrian Kurdistan could encourage separatism amongst its own Kurds.
In 2013, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — the political branch of the powerful People’s Protection Units (YPG) — has established three autonomous Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013. www.mesop.de