President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned those who shot down a Turkish military helicopter on Saturday during Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, saying that the perpetrators will surely pay a heavy price for it.
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Istanbul Provincial Consultation and Assessment Meeting, Erdoğan said that such losses were expected during times of war.
"Yesterday, we destroyed quite a large amount of missile depots, which is of course driving them [the People's Protection Units(YPG)] crazy. We might lose one helicopter, but they will pay a much heavier price."
The downed helicopter was a T129 ATAK helicopter, and was shot down in Kırıkhan district of Hatay province, killing two soldiers, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters in southwestern Muğla province.
Operation Olive Branch was launched by Turkey on Jan. 20 to remove the PKK/PYD/YPG/KCK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and in the region as well as to protect Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights within international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said, "utmost importance" is being placed on not harming any civilians.
The operation in Afrin – bordering Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces – was widely expected in the wake of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which cleared Daesh terrorists from Turkey's border between Aug. 24, 2016, and March 2017.