Turkish president says helicopter downed in Syria

James Mattis the US defence secretary has ruled out sending two British fighters nicknamed the Beatles to Guantanamo Bay

James Mattis the US defence secretary has ruled out sending two British fighters nicknamed the Beatles to Guantanamo BayJONATHAN ERNST REUTERS

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said F-16 jets resumed bombing Thursday night, striking the northwestern enclave's Mount Bafilun, the villages of Sheik Huruz and Kefer Jenne, and the regions of Sheran, Jinderes and Raju, among other targets.

Ankara launched an air and ground offensive last month against Kurdish fighters in Syria's Afrin region on its border, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war.

The downed helicopter was a T129 ATAK helicopter, and was shot down in Kırıkhan district of Hatay province, killing two soldiers, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters in southwestern Muğla province. Russian Federation is a close ally of Assad and is helping the government bomb rebel-held targets.

Nine Turkish soldiers were killed and 11 injured in confrontations as part of operation Olive Branch against Kurdish separatists in Afrin, northwest of Syria, the Turkish army said Saturday.

Air strikes killed six people in Eastern Ghouta, a pocket of towns and farmland east of Damascus where the death toll has climbed to more than 230 in the last four days - the area's deadliest week since 2015, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Since the war began in 2011, Syrian Kurdish fighters and their allies have set up three autonomous cantons in the north, including Afrin which borders Turkey.

Syria has been gripped by a new and escalating round of violence in recent weeks.

The Peoples' Democratic Party or HDP - the second largest opposition in the Turkish parliament - is voting Sunday in Ankara as lawmaker Selahattin Demirtas steps down.

The draft resolution proposed by Sweden and Kuwait also calls for an immediate end to all sieges including in Eastern Ghouta.

More than 4,000 families live in basements and bunkers, using them as shelter from airstrikes, according to Save the Children.

"Children in Eastern Ghouta are being starved, bombed and trapped".

"This fighting is absolutely unacceptable, " she added. "Schools are supposed to be safe places for children, protected under global law, yet they are being attacked every single day".

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