Eight Turkish Soldiers Killed in Syria, 13 Wounded

"May God grant peace to our martyred soldiers in Afrin, all my condolences to their loved ones", spokesman for the Turkish presidency Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

Shortly after, it issued a second statement in which it announced that three more soldiers had been killed as well as six wounded, without giving details of the circumstances.

Syrian activists say the Turkish air force has hit two positions of pro-government Syrian fighters deployed last week in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, killing and wounding a number of fighters.

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli made the announcement in a speech delivered at Istanbul National Defense University on Friday, adding that 95 villages or hamlets had come under their control during the so-called Operation Olive Branch.

A Turkish helicopter was also reportedly struck while attempting to rescue injured soldiers and was forced to turn back.

On Monday French President Emmanuel Macron's office said he had told Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan that the United Nations demand "applied to all of Syria, including Afrin, and should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay".

Turkey launched the offensive on January 20 to remove members of the Islamic State and the People's Protection Units militia, which it considers terrorists.

Yıldırım said Turkish soldiers, special forces, gendarmeries, police officers, and Free Syrian Army (FSA) advance "step by step" in Afrin.

Pro-government fighters are present on several fronts in the enclave, according to the Kurds.

It is one of the bloodiest days for Turkish troops since they began a major offensive against Kurdish fighters in Afrin in January.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that close to 150 civilians have been killed since the start of Turkish offensive, though Turkey has disputed such claims.

Ankara views the YPG as a terror group, and the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The YPG has been an important ally for the United States in the fight against Islamic State.