Three Turkish servicemen have been killed in the Syrian district of Afrin after an improvised explosive device went off, Hurriyet Daily News newspaper reported.

Local media reported about the incident, citing Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s statement, though providing no further details.

On January 20, Ankara, jointly with the opposition Free Syrian Army forces, launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin in order to “clear” Turkey’s Syrian border of the terrorist threat. Turkey considers the the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

Since the beginning of the operation Turkish troops have killed over 3,400 militants in the area.

Damascus has condemned the operation as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

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