March 20, 2018

Turkish military helicopter shot down near Syria: President Erdogan

11 February 2018, 06:35 | Taylor George

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"These attacks must end now", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

"Over 300 primary, secondary and high schools have been closed down", she added.

It also said one child was killed and six people were injured after shelling hit a vehicle carrying civilians in the city of Azaz on February 5 and they were transferred to hospitals in Turkey for treatment.

A member of Afrin's civil administration, Hevi Mustafa, was quoted by Reuters as saying the Turkish offensive had so far killed 160 people, including 26 children and 17 women.

The government alleges that the HDP, which remains legal, has links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group.

But the USA denies those connections and sees the YPG as a key ally in the battle against the Islamic State. Those strikes - just as Turkey launched its Afrin operation - were guided by SDF forces on the ground, the US-led coalition noted pointedly.Other ISIS groups have gone deeper into the Iraqi desert.

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But on Thursday the Security Council failed to support the proposal. The military says it has "neutralised" more than 1,100 "terrorists" in Afrin.

"We are yet again appalled by the recent reports of the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons and the escalation of bombings that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths in the last 48 hours".

"Ensuring the security of its borders does not mean killing civilians, and that should be condemned".

Nebenzia also said that while the humanitarian situation in Syria is "deplorable", it is "in no way much more different than it used to be a month ago -- but now we are being presented with it as if something dramatic has happened".

President Bashar al-Assad, who has seized a clear advantage in the war with Russian and Iranian help, is hammering two of the last key rebel pockets of Syria - the Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus and Idlib in the northwest near the Turkish border.

He said Erdogan and the Turkish media were "trying to cover the Turkish army's failure in Afrin". It said the damage endangered access to clean water for thousands of people in the region. Aside from the Turkish offensive in Afrin, the Syrian government has escalated its attacks on two of the largest and most important remaining opposition-held areas, in Idlib province in northwestern Syria and on eastern Ghouta, a region near the capital Damascus.

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