2 killed when Turkish helicopter crashes in Syria

Turkish army tanks head for Afrin. AP

Turkish army tanks head for Afrin. AP

U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster held talks on Sunday in Istanbul with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman, a presidential source said, amid persistent tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over Syria and other issues.

The Turkish military said that two soldiers were killed when its attack helicopter crashed and was destroyed around 1 p.m. local time.

"We do not have any exact evidence and document regarding whether (or not) it was downed due to external intervention", he said.

Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters liberated a village in western Afrin from PYD/PKK terrorists during ongoing Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria on Saturday, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground.

Last week Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he would tell Tillerson during his visit that the two countries must fix damaged mutual trust.

However, in a posting on Twitter, Mustefa Bali, spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces dominated by the YPG, said a helicopter had been hit in the Rajo area of northwest Afrin, near the Turkish border.

Turkey launched a bloody offensive last month against Kurdish fighters, sending troops and tanks over the border.

"These things will happen, we are in a war".

"After seven years of paralysis in the (U.N.) Security Council, the situation in Syria is crying out to be referred to the International Criminal Court, as well as for a much more concerted effort by States to bring peace", Zeid said in a statement. We are in a war. "We might lose a helicopter, but they'll pay the price for this", he said in Istanbul.

On Jan. 20, Turkish warplanes began striking Afrin as dozens of civilians, including children and women, were reported to have been killed by air raids and shelling.

Since the beginning of the operation, the Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army have managed to capture 48 different strategic areas from terrorists including a town center, 31 villages, three rural areas and 13 hills.

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