Turkish tank in Afrin ‘might have been hit by Russian-made anti tank weapon Konkurs’
Uğur Ergan – ANKARA
The antitank weaponry used in the attack against a Turkish army tank on Feb. 3 in Sheikh Haruz, northeast of Afrin, might have been a Russian-made 9M113 Konkurs, security sources told daily Hürriyet on Feb. 5.
The wire-guided, optical sight trained semi-automatic anti-tank missile system was developed by the Soviet Union and has been dubbed the “At-5 Spandrel” by NATO circles.
While still an allegation, the claim is being evaluated, sources said.
Five soldiers were killed in the attack when militants targeted the Turkish army tank.
“They will pay for this twice as much. We instantly gave the necessary response, and we continue to do so,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Feb. 3.
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.
A total of 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 the other in Turkey’s southern province of Kilis in an attack perpetrated by the YPG.
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.
Meanwhile, a total of 947 People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants have been “neutralized” since the launch of “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s Afrin district, the military said on Feb. 5.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
In a statement, the Turkish General Staff said 12 militants had been “neutralized” in overnight airstrikes on Feb. 4.