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1ST LEAD Turkey: Three soldiers killed in Afrin during explosive clearance By Ergin Hava, dpa

Europe
22.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - Three Turkish soldiers were killed on Thursday after a home-made bomb detonated in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.

Turkish armed forces separately confirmed that three other soldiers were injured in the incident.

"Unfortunately, we have three martyrs today. They were martyred while clearing hand-made explosives," Yildirim said in Ankara.

"Terrorist elements" were responsible for distributing the explosive devices in parts of Afrin, Yildirim said, adding that Turkish forces were trying to de-mine the area.

Turkish soldiers and allied Syrian rebels have taken full control of Afrin, previously held by the main Kurdish militia YPG. Ankara considers YPG a terrorist group linked to armed insurgents inside Turkey.

The Turkish-led offensive prompted tens of thousands of people to flee Afrin city, according to estimates from a war monitor.

Around 167,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Afrin, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

The enclave is close to the Turkish border and north-west of the city of Aleppo.

The UN is also concerned about restrictions on access to Aleppo, as deaths from a lack of proper healthcare have been reported and medical evacuations are urgently needed to specialized hospitals in Aleppo city, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

 

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