Turkish military helicopter crashes in Syria's Afrin

Erdogan shares his plans for liberating Syria

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Located in the outskirt of capital Damascus, Eastern Ghouta was declared a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are forbidden.

In eastern Ghouta, almost 400,000 residents are trapped by a tightening government siege and the violence.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. It said it had killed 26 militants.

"These are the worst four days that Eastern Ghouta has ever gone through", said Hamza, an overwhelmed doctor at the local Erbin clinic who was treating wounded patients.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said the intensity of the bombardments targeting Eastern Ghouta began easing from Friday night.

Damascus has repeatedly said it targets only militants.

"The people here have collapsed, people are seen talking to themselves in the streets".

"It has been now nearly 60 days since we had the last convoy to a besieged area", Jakob Kern, the WFP country director in Syria, told Reuters in a phone interview from Damascus.

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Turkish forces claim that hundreds of Kurdish militia fighters have been "neutralized" in a series of military sorties, while militias such as the the YPG had before Saturday claimed more than a dozen Turkish casualties.

The country's prime minister walked back on the comments soon after, saying the cause of the helicopter's crash was not yet clear.

According to the military, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and in the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The overnight attacks came after a lull in Turkish air strikes following the shooting down of a Russian warplane elsewhere in Syria last weekend.

Ankara says the YPG is a "terrorist" offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey and is blacklisted by Washington and the EU.

In a statement, the Turkish military said that air strikes destroyed shelters, hideouts and ammunition depots belonging to the YPG and the Islamic State group, which Turkey says it is also combating in the operation.

Turkey ordered the arrest of 17 people including the co-leader of the main pro-Kurdish political party over opposition to the military's offensive in Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Friday.

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