Turkey loses 61 soldiers in Syria since Aug. 24

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Two soldiers, specialized sergeants Mahmut Uslu (first R) and Selim Topal (first L), who posed with PM Binali Yıldırım in Gaziantep on New Year’s Eve, have been killed in ISIL attacks.

With a statement from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on Wednesday saying that another five soldiers were killed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Turkey has now lost 61 soldiers in the 169 days of operations in Syria, Al Jazeera Turk reported.

As part of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive ISIL from the border city of Jarabulus on Aug. 24, in a dramatic escalation of its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

According to a statement by the TSK, Free Syrian Army rebels who were supported by Turkish troops took control of the strategic hills surrounding the city of al-Bab in northern Syria.

The Turkish military also stated that 254 ISIL targets were hit and 58 terrorists had been killed on Wednesday. Coalition forces also hit 13 ISIL targets in seven airstrikes on the conflict area.

Second soldier in photo dies

A second soldier who appears in a photo taken with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was slain in Syria on Wednesday.

According to DHA, Spc. Sgt. Mahmut Uslu, who was photographed with Yıldırım in the Oğuzeli district of Gaziantep on New Year’s Eve, was killed in an ISIL attack.

Another specialized sergeant, Selim Topal, who was in the same photo with Yıldırım, was killed during an ISIL attack in Syria on Jan. 20.

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