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Eight Turkish soldiers killed in Syria's Afrin, army says

Death toll makes Thursday one of the deadliest days for Ankara since launching offensive against Kurdish YPG in northwest Syria
Istanbul funeral of Turkish soldier recently killed in Afrin region (Reuters)

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed and another 13 wounded in clashes in northwest Syria's Afrin region on Thursday, Turkey's armed forces said.

The military said the wounded soldiers had been "swiftly evacuated" to receive treatment. No further details were immediately available.

Turkey launched an offensive into Afrin in January against the US-backed Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The PKK has waged a three-decade military struggle against the Turkish state.

Since the start of the operation, Turkey has captured 115 "strategic points" and 87 villages, according to state media, pushing Kurdish fighters back from the area near the Turkish border to effectively create a "crescent" of control on Syria's side of the frontier.

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The death toll makes Thursday one of the deadliest days for Ankara since launching the offensive.

Meanwhile, an aid convoy carrying humanitarian supplies for 50,000 displaced people arrived in Afrin on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The situation in Afrin and other areas along the Syria-Turkish border is alarming, with the majority of people living in "dire conditions," the ICRC said in a statement.

ICRC spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet said it was the first time this year that the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent received approval of the warring sides to send a convoy into Afrin.

The 29-truck convoy was carrying 430 tonnes of food, mattresses, blankets, winter clothes and hygiene kits, the statement said. Jaquement dismissed as untrue reports that the convoy had come under attack during the journey.

The United Nations has estimated 30,000 people may have been displaced in Afrin since the Turkish offensive began, but there is little information available. Jaquemet said 30 percent of the population of Afrin district was thought to be displaced, but she did not have any other figures.