Afrin: dozens of fighters killed in Turkish air strike

Afrin: dozens of fighters killed in Turkish air strike
Copyright REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Copyright REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
By Catherine Hardy with Reuters
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Dozens of fighters killed in a Turkish air strike in Afrin


Turkish warplanes have struck pro-Syrian government forces in the northwestern Afrin region of Syria.

Monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 36 have been killed.

The Observatory says the air strike, which hit a camp in Kafr Jina, marked the third time in 48 hours that Turkish warplanes had struck pro-government forces in Afrin.

The Turkish army is in control of around 70 percent of the town, 25 kilometres northwest of Afrin city.

Has there been any other confirmation?

In a statement, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a YPG-led militia alliance, has said that Turkish air strikes had targeted positions held by the Syrian Army's "popular forces" from 5am to 10am local time.

It did not say where or give a death toll.

The SDF statement says a group of Turkish forces and allied Syrian factions had infiltrated Rajo, where it said clashes were continuing between SDF forces and the attackers.

What has Ankara said?

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says his country's forces had captured the town of Rajo from militants.

Why are the Syrian government troops in Afrin?

The pro-Syrian government forces entered Afrin last week in support of the Kurdish YPG militia, the stated target of the operation launched by Turkey and allied Syrian rebel fighters in January.

Ankara considers the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. It has fought a three-decade insurgency in Turkey and is deemed a terrorist group by the US, the EU and Turkey.

However, the YPG has been an important ally for the US in the fight against ISIL.

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