ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish forces defending the enclave of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) shot down a Turkish helicopter on Saturday three weeks after Ankara’s attempted invasion began.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the shoot-down in a speech in Istanbul.
“They will pay a more than heavy price,” Erdogan said in remarks carried by state media.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, meanwhile, told reporters that two troops aboard the Turkish-made ATAK attack helicopter were killed.
Two helicopters were flying in the area, Yildirim said, adding there was no evidence yet if the one downed was attacked by the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) or fell because of a technical failure.
General Staff of the Turkish army did not specify how the helicopter came down but said it was “irreparably damaged” at around 1:00 p.m. local time.
Erdogan, however, maintained that the rotorcraft “was brought down.”
“We are at war,” he said, for the first time thus naming the cross-border offensive against the Syrian Kurds.
“We will have losses. But, we will also make them have losses. We are determined. We believe. We are superior,” Erdogan went on at an Istanbul provincial convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
There was no statement by the Kurdish forces regarding the incident at the time of publishing this report.
Privately-owned Turkish Dogan news agency wired that there were also soldiers wounded and taken to local hospitals in the southern Hatay Province on the border with Afrin, without giving a number.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany