Military academy classmates killed a year apart in Turkish ops in Syria
One of the Turkish soldiers killed in an attack against a Turkish tank in Syria’s Afrin province on Feb. 3 turned out to be the classmate of another Turkish soldier killed during a separate Turkish military operation in Syria back in 2017.
Lieutenant Muhammed Cihangir Çubukçu, who was one of the five Turkish soldiers who lost their lives when militants reportedly targeted their tank on Feb. 3, was later revealed to have been classmates with Lieutenant Furkan Yayla – a soldier who was killed in Turkey’s “Operation Euphrates Shield” in Syria’s northern city of al-Bab in February, 2017.
Çubukçu, on the other hand, was fighting in Turkey’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s northern Afrin district.
The two were educated together at the Turkish Military Academy in 2015 before they were killed a year apart.
In a picture of the aftermath of Yayla’s death in 2017, Çubukçu can even be spotted consoling his fallen classmate’s mother, Hülya Yayla, during the funeral in Yayla’s hometown in the northeastern province of Giresun.
Eight Turkish soldiers were killed on Feb. 3 during “Operation Olive Branch,” according to a Turkish General Staff statement that marked the deadliest day yet for the Turkish Army since the operation into Syria’s Afrin district began on Jan. 20.
The statement said one soldier was killed in clashes with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and another in Turkey’s southern province of Kilis in an attack perpetrated by the YPG.
Later on Feb. 3, the Turkish General Staff said five more soldiers had been killed in Sheikh Haruz, northeast of Afrin, when the militants targeted a Turkish army tank.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım expressed his condolences in a statement on Twitter.
“They will pay for this twice as much. We instantly gave the necessary response, and we continue to do so,” Yıldırım said.
Immediately after the attack at Sheikh Haruz, an air operation targeting shelters, hideouts and weapon emplacements in the area was launched at 5.52 p.m. local time.
Another soldier, who was wounded in a missile attack on Feb. 1, succumbed to his wounds at a hospital in southeastern Hakkari province on Feb. 3, according to a security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
On Feb. 1, one Turkish soldier was killed and five others injured in a YPG missile attack launched from northern Iraq toward a military base in Hakkari’s border district of Çukurca.
A wide-scale operation was launched in the region to find the perpetrators, the agency reported.
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear “YPG and ISIL militants” from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
“Operation Euphrates Shield” began in late August 2016 to improve security and eliminate threats from the ISIL as well as other terror groups along Turkey’s border with Syria.