Drone footage captured by Turkish military shows what they say was Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters in civilian clothes firing a cannon mounted on a jeep in the Syrian town of Jindires, located to the southwest of rebel-held Afrin.
The drone tracks the militants as they drive into a covered garage and shows an explosion as the group is hit in a strike from the air.
The events shown in the video happened on Monday (February 12), the Turkish military say.
Turkey, which regards the Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin as a threat on its southern border, launched an assault on the region last month. However, Free Syrian Army forces and the Turkish military is making slow gains nearly three weeks into the operation it calls “Olive Branch”.
The Turkish military said on Monday that in the first 23 days of Operation Olive Branch, 31 Turkish soldiers had been killed and 143 were wounded. Only one of the wounded was at the risk of dying, it said, adding 1369 Syrian Kurdish and IS militants were killed during that time.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG, accused Turkey of exaggerating the numbers and said a total of 98 SDF fighters and 180 civilians have been killed since the onset of the offensive.
Ankara views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency in Turkey and is regarded as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.
But the United States relied on the YPG as a vital ground component in its war against Islamic State, and has backed the group in other Kurdish-run regions in northern Syria along the border with Turkey.