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3Novices:Turkish soldier killed in Syria attack, Kurdish militia blamed

KARKAMIS, TURKEY // Turkey said the military suffered its first fatality on Saturday in an unprecedented four day campaign inside Syria, blaming Kurdish militia in an increasingly volatile contest for control in the border region.

Tensions between Ankara and the Kurdish militia flared on Saturday, with clashes taking place eight kilometres south of the town of Jarabulus, the border town recaptured from ISIL this week by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, a monitoring group and Kurdish sources said.

It came days after the Turkish army on Wednesday launched the two-pronged cross border offensive against ISIL extremists but also Syrian Kurdish militia detested by Ankara, sending in dozens of tanks and hundreds of troops.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said one Turkish soldier was killed and three more wounded in a rocket attack by Kurdish militia on two tanks taking part in the offensive.

The dead soldier - who has not been identified - was the first confirmed Turkish fatality of Turkey's unprecedented operation in northern Syria which has so far proceeded with lightning pace.

The toll was confirmed by a Turkish official.

The rocket fire came from members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Anadolu said. Turkey considers the PYD and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia to be terror organisations.

Anadolu said that the Turkish army responded to the rocket attack by shelling PYD targets in Syria.

The self-proclaimed Kurdish authorities in northern Syria said that the local fighters backed by Kurdish forces "destroyed two tanks and killed its crews" near the village of Al-Amarneh.

In a separate incident on Saturday, Kurdish militants fired four rockets at the airport in the south-eastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, without causing casualties, the Dogan news agency said.

The pro-Kurdish fighters said earlier Turkey had for the first time carried out air strikes on its positions.

"With this aggression, a new conflict period will begin in the region," said the Jarabulus military council which is linked to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Anadolu agency reported that the army had carried out strikes against a weapons arsenal and command post belonging to "terror groups".

The fighting indicates Turkey is entering into a new and more dangerous phase in Syria four days into operation "Euphrates Shield".

* Agence France-Presse



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