BEIRUT — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
The Turkish military has said that two Turkish soldiers and two allied Syrian opposition fighters were killed in a military offensive against a Kurdish-held enclave in northern Syria.
The military statement published late Saturday said the men were killed in clashes with Syrian Kurdish YPG and the Islamic State group. Eleven soldiers and four Syrian fighters were injured.
Turkey has been battling the YPG, which it deems a terror organization, to clear Afrin in northern Syria of the group. There is no IS presence there.
According to the statement, 447 “terrorists” were “neutralized” since the beginning of the week-long operation codenamed Olive Branch. The figure cannot independently be verified because of access restrictions to the battleground.
In total, five Turkish soldiers have been killed since Jan. 20.
Several thousand people have rallied in Paris to support Turkey’s Kurds and protest a Turkish military incursion into a Kurdish-controlled enclave in Syria.
Left-wing activists joined Kurdish opposition groups in Saturday’s demonstration at the Place de la Republique in eastern Paris. Some waved banners denouncing Turkey’s government and backing the U.S.-supported Kurdish militia, the YPG.
The demonstrators urged French and other Western authorities to take a tougher stand against the Turkish campaign. France’s government has urged restraint but the protesters say that’s not enough.
Violence has escalated in northern Syria in recent days as Turkish forces have targeted the city of Afrin and threatened to push further east toward the border with Iraq. Turkey says it is fighting extremists threatening regional stability.
Turkey’s official news agency says a rocket fired from northern Syria has hit a house in the border province of Kilis, injuring two people.
The Anadolu news agency said the rocket was launched from the Afrin region Saturday afternoon and targeted the city center. The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, control the enclave in northern Syria.
The private Dogan news agency said the rocket did not explode.
Turkey began a military operation on Jan. 20 against the YPG, which it deems a terror group. Since then, multiple rocket attacks have killed three people — two of them Syrian refugees — and wounded more than 20 others.
The Turkish military’s chief of staff and a deputy prime minister visited the scene of the most recent rocket attack.
Syria’s main opposition negotiating body said Saturday it will boycott a peace conference in Russia next week, saying it would not lead to a genuine peace track that could end the country’s seven-year war.
The High Negotiations Committee announced the boycott of the Russia-backed conference in Sochi in a tweet Sunday night after a vote held in Vienna, Austria, where a U.N.-led conference was being held.
The two-day conference ended, as in many previous rounds, with accusations hurled back and forth between the two sides in comments to the press.
“The (Syrian) regime doesn’t believe in a political solution and it will not believe in the future … it only believes in the military option,” Syrian opposition leader Naser al-Hariri said from Vienna on Saturday.
Russia has been steering a separate negotiating track in Astana, and now in the Black Sea resort of Sochi where the conference is scheduled to be held on Monday with the participation of some 1,600 representatives of the Syrian government and opposition.