Russia, Turkey to enhance military coordination in Syria

An F-15E Strike Eagle during Operation Inherent Resolve

An F-15E Strike Eagle during Operation Inherent Resolve

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier Saturday the helicopter was downed as part of country's military action against US-backed Syrian Kurds in the area.

Turkey's military issued a brief statement Friday, saying its jets hit 19 targets, including shelters, ammunition depots and gun positions belonging to "terror" organizations. "We have two martyrs", Yildirim said in televised remarks, but added that there was: "no evidence (yet) in our hands to prove that it was a result of outside intervention".

The deadly day came as Turkish operations just across the Syrian border in Afrin are entering their fourth week, as Ankara battles the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), advancing on several different fronts into the territory.

Operation Olive Branch was launched by Turkey on January 20 to remove the PKK/PYD/YPG/KCK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.

A spokesman for the Kurdish militia said his fighters downed the chopper in Raju, northwest Afrin. This would mark the first time the YPG have downed a Turkish aircraft in the Afrin offensive.

A video shows the helicopter crashing into a mountainous valley, with fumes coming out of the region.

Nineteen Turkish soldiers have died since the operation started.

Some 1,141 "terrorists" had been neutralised during the operation, Erdogan said, referring to those killed but also those captured or wounded.

The YPG has self-reported at least 70 deaths among its own ranks.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes targeted the town of Afrin and its outskirts, killing two people and wounding others.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights within worldwide law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

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