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Both sides forced to up casualty estimates as Afrin battles rage

The official body counts are rising as Turkey's Operation Olive Branch continues in Afrin, with at least 24 civilians dead so far and both sides exaggerating losses inflicted on the other.
Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen near Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin, Syria January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi - RC1E2E017CA0

As the Turkish military offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces enters its fourth day, Syrian Arab rebels whose main purpose remains to topple President Bashar al-Assad's regime are at the front lines on Turkey’s side.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), a loose coalition of mainly Sunni Arab rebel forces, captured a strategic village and two hills in Afrin, the mainly Kurdish region that is the focus of the Turkish campaign, Turkey’s state run Anadolu news agency reported today. Clashes between the Kurdish fighters known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Turkish-led forces continued to rage near the Qastal Jendo hill on the northern border of Afrin, with the YPG claiming it had swiftly recaptured lost ground.

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