Russia, Turkey to enhance military coordination in Syria

US Military Presence in Syria Intended to Thwart Russia, Iran - Experts

US Military Presence in Syria Intended to Thwart Russia, Iran - Experts

Yıldırım said it remains "unclear" why the helicopter went down and added that an investigation had been launched. On Friday, the military said one soldier was killed during clashes with the YPG the Afrin region.

"[The perpetrators] will pay a heavy price [for downing theTurkish helicopter]", Erdogan said, speaking at a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's provincial meeting.

Eleven Turkish soldiers were killed on Saturday, including two military personnel when a helicopter was downed, in the bloodiest day in Ankara's offensive against a Kurdish militia in northern Syria. The U.S. wants Turkey to limit its military offensive against the Kurds without harming U.S. -Turkey relations.

More than 20 Turkish soldiers and 150 YPG fighters have been killed since the military offensive began, he said.

The European Union and United States have also designated the PKK, which has fought an insurgency against Turkey for more than three decades, as a terror group.

The Turkish military uses the term "neutralized" in reference to terrorists captured dead or alive, or those who surrender during the operations.

Erdogan has promised to sweep the militia from Turkey's southern border, a move that could put Turkish troops in confrontation with USA forces on the ground in Syria. Last Saturday, seven Turkish troops died in the worst single-day loss of the operation so far, with five killed in a tank attack.

"Of course, these kinds of things will happen".

In a statement, Turkish General Staff said one of the ATAK helicopter crashed at around 1 p.m. (1000GMT) during ongoing operation in Afrin.

But it comes as Syrian and Russian forces step up strikes against rebel-held enclaves, Turkey battles US-backed Kurdish forces for a foothold in the north, and US-led forces bombed pro-regime fighters attacking their local allies in the east.

"This is a threat to Turkey which Ankara has the natural right to fight under worldwide and domestic law", Yildirim added.

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