Three Turkish soldiers were martyred and three others wounded by an explosion on Thursday during a search operation in Syria's Afrin as part of Operation Olive Branch.
Buoyed by his army's capture of Afrin, a Kurdish stronghold in northwest Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to extend the offensive against separatist Kurdish militants to eastern Syria and northern Iraq.
Turkish troops and their rebel allies swept into the north-west Syrian town of Afrin yesterday, the culmination of an eight-week campaign to drive the Kurdish YPG fighters from the region.
'By controlling Afrin city centre yesterday, we have passed the most important step of the Olive Branch operation, ' he said.
Turkey has served notice to the Iraqi government in Baghdad that its forces would attack the major PKK camp on Mount Sinjar near the Syrian border unless Iraq takes action.
Ankara sees the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia as an extension of the separatist Kurdish PKK group that has battled the Turkish military since the 1980s, and is classified as a terrorist organization by the US, the European Union and Turkey. "If you can not handle it, then we may suddenly enter Sinjar one night and clear out the PKKs there".
The UN has issued sharp warnings on Afrin about the humanitarian situation in Syria.
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Kurdish-German footballer Deniz Naki joined a hunger strike in front of the United Nations headquarters in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday to demonstrate against Turkey's military offensive in Kurdish regions of Syria.
The U.S. State Department also released a statement criticising the Turkish military operation in Afrin.
Erdogan said Turkish troops and allied Syrian forces would press east, toward the Syrian town of Manbij and areas east of the Euphrates River, including Ras al-Ayn and Ayn al-Arab, the Arabic name for the Kurdish town of Kobani.
In highly unusual remarks aimed at an ally, Nauert said, "We are also concerned over reports of looting inside the city of Afrin".
Young men walk amid destruction in the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin on March 19, 2018, a day after Turkish-led forces entered the city.
He added that counter-terror operations will not stop until threats along Turkey's borders are not completely eliminated.
Over 280 civilians have lost their lives since the offensive began, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).