Three Turkish soldiers killed on Syria border

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Three Turkish soldiers were killed in southeastern Turkey on Saturday when a bomb exploded on the border with Syria, Agence France-Presse reported, citing the Turkish defense ministry.

The ministry said they died in the town of Akçakale in Şanlıurfa province after a handmade bomb detonated “put there by terrorists” but did not provide more details.

On the other side of the Turkish border is the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, held by Turkish forces and Syrian proxies after Ankara launched a military operation against a Kurdish militia in October 2019.

Although it did not blame an organization by name, the ministry was likely referring to Kurdish militants.

Ankara has launched multiple operations inside Turkey, in Iraq, and in Syria against Kurdish militants from or linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

In northern Syria, Turkey has waged offensives against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in 2016, 2018, and 2019.

Ankara says the YPG is a “terrorist” offshoot of the PKK, although it also played a key role in the US-backed fight against the Islamic State extremist group in Syria.

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