Turkish troops killed in deadliest day of Kurdish offensive

Four more Turkish soldiers have been killed in northern Syria, the Turkish military said late Saturday, bringing the day's death toll to 11 in what has been the most lethal day since Ankara's offensive on Syrian Kurdish militias began.

Kino Gabriel, spokesman for the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said to Reuters news agency that YPG has reached an understanding with the Assad regime.

Main image: Fire and smoke rise after a mortar shell launched by Syrian rebels hit an electricity generator in the Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus.

"At this stage, we can say that one out of two helicopters was downed".

Turkey on January 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

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YPG is regarded by Turkey as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade armed conflict in Turkey and is regarded as a terrorist group by the USA and the European Union.

"The casualties of Al-Qaeda gangs are about 350 and Turkish army lost about 200 soldiers", he said, adding that the YPG had only suffered 100 casualties.

Syrian government forces and their allies launched a push into Idlib seven weeks ago, inching closer to a key highway that connects Syria's two largest cities of Damascus and Aleppo.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, meanwhile, said urgent worldwide action was needed after a "week of soaring violence and bloodshed".

Five straight days of bombardment by regime warplanes and artillery from Monday to Friday killed more than 240 civilians, including 60 children, and wounded 775 people, the Observatory said.

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According to the statement, the United Nations office staff has received reports and video footage suggesting that "toxic agents" may have been released following airstrikes Sunday on a residential area of Saraqeb.

Western powers have expressed alarm over the government's campaign against Eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 people have been besieged since 2013, facing severe food and medicine shortages.

The position on the resolution of Syria's ally Russian Federation was not yet known.

Both Idlib and eastern Ghouta are part of Russia-negotiated de-escalation areas, which are meant to freeze the lines of conflict and allow in humanitarian aid.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on worldwide law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria & #39;s territorial integrity, it said.

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Mr Zeid has said the continuing failure to end the war - which has been ongoing since 2011 - is an "epic failure of global diplomacy".

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