Turkish soldier killed in attack in northwest Syria

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A Turkish soldier was killed in a mortar attack on Sunday near the northern Syrian town of Afrin, the Turkish ministry of defense said, blaming the attack on “terrorists” and responding with a barrage of shelling.

The ministry said another soldier was wounded in the attack, and that Turkish forces had struck back against “terrorist targets.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said Turkey shelled at least three villages north of the town of Afrin, mainly causing material damage.

Turkey and allied Syrian fighters took control of Afrin last year, expelling local Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers terrorists.

The Turkish takeover set off a series of attacks against Turkey’s presence in the originally Kurdish-dominated areas.

The Observatory said at least 140 Turkish shells hit the villages. The area north of Afrin is controlled by the Syrian government, but Kurdish militia fighters have maintained some presence there.

The Kurdish-run Hawar news agency also reported the shelling but gave no details on casualties.

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