Turkish president says helicopter downed in Syria

Turkish president says helicopter downed in Syria

Talking to reporters in western Muğla province, Yıldırımm said: "Unfortunately, one of our two ATAK helicopters on a mission in Afrin region has crashed".

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the deaths in a televised address on Saturday.

Operation Olive Branch was launched by Turkey on January 20 to remove the PKK/PYD/YPG/KCK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.

A total of 19 targets were destroyed on the 23rd day of the counter-terror operation, killing 86 terrorists, the statement elaborated.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier Saturday the helicopter was downed as part of country's military action against US-backed Syrian Kurds in the area.

"These things will happen, we are in a war". We are in a war. "We might lose a helicopter, but they'll pay the price for this", he said in Istanbul.

According to Reuters, an unnamed American military official said the strikes killed around 100 people in the Deir el-Zour region.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate and unconditional de-escalation of violence in Syria as civilians in the war-torn country suffer through one of the most violent periods in almost seven years of conflict.

He noted that the failure to end the war "marks an epic failure of global diplomacy".

President Bashar al-Assad, who has seized a clear advantage in the war with Russian and Iranian help, is hammering two of the last key rebel pockets of Syria - the Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus and Idlib in the northwest near the Turkish border.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 56 people, including 10 children, were killed on Thursday.

They discussed the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta, just outside Damascus, where dozens have been killed in aerial strikes in the past few days.

In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Guterres stressed that "all concerned in Syria and the region have a responsibility and must abide by worldwide law and relevant Security Council resolutions". Kuwait and Sweden had officially called for the meeting in the hope that the council, in good conscience, would respond favourably to the strictly humanitarian call for even a limited truce to save lives and allow for the evacuation of the critically sick and injured Syrians, many of whom are children.

The position on the resolution of Syria 's ally Russian Federation was not yet known.

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