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Erdogan aide meets US National security adviser in Turkey amid tensions

12 February 2018, 09:50 | Taylor George

Erdogan aide meets US National security adviser in Turkey amid tensions

A Syrian girl lies on a stretcher at a hospital after air strikes targeted her hometown of Arbin in Eastern Ghouta on February 06

In a statement, the military said the Turkish Armed Forces had "destroyed" 36 YPG targets and "neutralized" 79 YPG militants in airstrikes that were carried out overnight on February 10.

There has been a particular increase in military activity in the opposition-held Eastern Ghouta and Idlib regions.

The military's statement said the soldier died in clashes with the Syrian Kurdish group known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the US airstrike wounded 25 pro-Syrian volunteers.

In Damascus, shelling of the old city quarter by rebel factions in eastern Ghouta killed two civilians and damaged houses and properties.

Nauert said the U.S.is supporting a United Nations call for a month-long "cessation of violence".

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

The multi-sided conflict is raging on other fronts too, with Turkey waging a big offensive in a Kurdish-controlled area of northwestern Syria, the Afrin region, where Ankara is targeting Kurdish militia forces it sees as a threat to its security.

SANA said earlier that forces of the US-led worldwide coalition targeted popular forces that were fighting the Islamic State group and the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

But the USA has taken a different view to the YPG, providing it with weapons in the Syrian group's battle against Islamic State militants.

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

According to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Office, at least 277 civilians were killed last week including 230 in air strikes by Syrian government and allied forces, the statement said. Seven Turkish civilians have also lost their lives.

Turkey has justified its military operation calling the YPG a terrorist organization.

SANA called it an "aggression". "These sieges involve the worldwide crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population", said Paulo Pinheiro, the chair of the commission.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has urged Turkey to respect the sovereignty of Syria, a local media reported on Thursday.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced earlier that a military helicopter was "downed" in the Afrin operation.

The neighborhood was one of several so-called de-escalation zones agreed previous year by Russia, Turkey and Iran.

It was not immediately clear when the Istanbul meeting would take place.

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



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