Three Turkish soldiers killed on Syria border

AFP , Saturday 8 Jan 2022

Three Turkish soldiers were killed in southeastern Turkey on Saturday when a bomb exploded on the border with Syria, the Turkish defence ministry said.

Turkish Military funeral ceremony
File Photo: Turkey s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, third right, attends a funeral ceremony for Halil Ibrahim Akkaya, one of dozens of Turkish soldiers killed in Syria, in Bahce, Osmaniye, Turkey, Feb. 28, 2020. AP

The ministry said they died in the town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province after a handmade bomb detonated "put there by terrorists" but did not provide more details.

On the other side of the Turkish border is the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, held by Turkish forces and Syrian proxies after Ankara launched a military operation against a Kurdish militia in October 2019.

Although it did not blame an organisation by name, the ministry was likely referring to Kurdish militants.

Ankara has launched multiple operations inside Turkey, in Iraq and in Syria against Kurdish militants from or linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

In norther Syria, Turkey has waged offensives against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Ankara says the YPG is a "terrorist" offshoot of the PKK, although it also played a key role in the US-backed fight against the Islamic State extremist group in Syria.

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