2 Turkish soldiers killed in attack near Syrian border: ministry

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Two Turkish soldiers were killed in southern Turkey on Wednesday in a mortar attack near a military base in the town of Akçakale on the Syrian border, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing Turkey’s Defense Ministry.

The attack targeted a base across from the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, which Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies seized in a military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia last month, the ministry said.

Turkish forces had immediately opened retaliatory fire towards the source of the attack, a ministry statement said, and operations in the region continued.

Turkey’s cross-border military incursion in October was aimed at removing YPG elements from its border areas.

Despite being a vital ground force in US-led military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the YPG is seen by Turkey as a terrorist group operating as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK has been leading a violent insurgency against Turkey’s security forces since the 1980s and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

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