Turkish soldier killed in Syria's Afrin

A man holds a child after an airstrike in the besieged town of Douma in eastern Ghouta in Damascus Syria

A man holds a child after an airstrike in the besieged town of Douma in eastern Ghouta in Damascus Syria

More than 200 civilians have been killed since Monday in Syrian regime airstrikes on parts of rebel-held Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, The Guardian reported. No more details were given.

Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan says its military helicopter has been shot down in northern Syria during an operation against US-backed Kurdish forces. He said engineers are trying to fix the damage. An AFP correspondent there said the strikes hit near a school, a market and a mosque. There were no casualties.

The operation has run into determined Kurdish resistance, with seven Turkish soldiers killed at the weekend.In neighboring Idlib, the Syrian army - backed by Russian airpower - is making advances from the south.

The downed helicopter was the first officially confirmed loss of a Turkish aircraft over Syria since the start of the country's long-running civil war.

Among the arrested were district heads of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the official added.

The Turkish military in a statement did not specify a reason for why the helicopter fell.

It has been rare for regime and US forces to directly target each other, as NPR's Tom Bowman reported Wednesday.

Since the onset of Syria's conflict in 2011, the YPG and its allies have set up three autonomous cantons in the north, including Afrin. U.S. forces are present in Manbij, and despite Turkish demands say they don't intend to leave.

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"But analysts also see these attacks as an attempt to punish opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad by targeting towns and villages in Syria that are sympathetic to the opposition".

Turkey said it launched the operation to target "terrorist organizations", including YPG forces. Washington has urged Turkey to show restraint and has warned that the assault on Afrin could hinder the war on IS.

Sweden and Kuwait called for Thursday's closed-door briefing to get an update from humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock on what Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog called the "dramatic" humanitarian situation which is "deteriorating in many, many areas". So this kind of revenge, I mean Turkey, is forced to do themselves.

Although Russia, which has control over the Syrian airspace, gave the green light to Ankara, such a prospect would endanger the government-held city of Aleppo as well.

Muslim accuses Turkey of links with ISIL, something Ankara has always denied. Muslim does not fear being abandoned by the US-led coalition.

"We've been very public in our call to the Turks to let these folks go, and we've been very firm in our private conversations with them as well". "They can neither advance nor retreat", he told Kurdistan 24. This incensed Erdogan who decide to attack despite the United States cautioning him to against the move. The campaign followed Ankara's promises to "strangle" the new Border Security Force (BSF) in Syria.

They also want to curb any Kurdish appetite for expansion into Turkish territory.

The HDP says it is independent.

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