1 Turkish soldier killed during anti-terror op in northern Syria
| AA File Photo

One Turkish soldier was killed during ongoing operational activities in the region of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch against terrorist groups in Syria's northwestern Afrin district, the Ministry of Defense said Monday.

Infantry Specialist Corporal Umut Öznütepe was wounded in clashes with terrorists Sunday night and succumbed to his injuries at Afrin State Hospital.

In a statement issued Monday, the defense ministry offered condolences "with deep pain and sorrow" to the family of the fallen soldier.

Launched in January 2018, Operation Olive Branch sought to eliminate the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terror group near Turkey's borders and protect Syrians from oppression from terrorist groups. In March of last year, Ankara announced that Afrin was under the complete control of Turkish forces.

Following the operation, Turkey has been involved in rebuilding the town's infrastructure, significantly transforming the city and making it possible for more than 200,000 Syrians who fled violence to return home.

The U.S.-backed YPG is an extension of the PKK, which claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people in its 30-year terror campaign against Turkey. The U.S. lists the PKK as a terrorist group; however, it has provided steadfast military support to the YPG, causing a political rift in its relations with Turkey.