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Four Turkish soldiers killed in Syria car bombing

A Turkish soldier stands near his armoured vehicle in Syria's Raqqa region [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 9 January, 2020

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Four Turkish soldiers were killed while conducting road patrols in Turkish-controlled northeastern Syria.

Four Turkish soldiers were killed Wednesday in a car bombing in northeastern Syria, Turkey's defence ministry said.

The soldiers were conducting road patrols when the explosion took place in a region of Syria captured by Turkish forces in an operation against a Kurdish militia last year.

The ministry did not provide further information on exactly where the bomb exploded or who was to blame for the attack.

Turkish soldiers supporting Syrian proxies launched an offensive against the US-backed Syrian-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in October 2019.

Ankara established what it has dubbed a "safe zone" in a 120-kilometre (70-mile)-long strip of land it seized from Syrian Kurdish fighters along its southern border.

Human Rights Watch in December said the "safe zone" is in actuality not safe, citing executions and home confiscations in the Turkish-controlled swathe of northern Syria.

Turkey claims it wants to resettle some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it hosts on Turkish soil in the area grabbed through a deadly offensive and subsequent deals.

Turkey's 9 October invasion was the latest in a series of military operations on Syrian soil against Kurdish fighters it views as "terrorists".

In-depth: Turkey, the Kurds and the demographic re-engineering of Syria

The operation displaced tens of thousands and left dozens of civilians dead, and forced Kurdish forces to retreat from some key towns.

Ankara says the YPG is a "terrorist" offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

Turkey previously launched two military operations in northern Syria against the Islamic State group in 2016 and the YPG in 2018.

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