EIGHT Turkish troops have been killed in Ankara’s military operation against a Syrian Kurdish militia, in what was the deadliest day in the two-week-old offensive in the enclave of Afrin.

In a statement late on Saturday, Turkish officials said five soldiers were killed after their tank in Syria came under attack near Afrin.

Earlier that day, three Turkish soldiers were reportedly killed - one died in the area of the tank attack, another in northern Syria and the third on the Turkish side of the border in an attack apparently launched by Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The total death toll for Turkish troops since the so-called Olive Branch operation started on January 20 now stands at 13.

Turkey launched the incursion into Afrin to rout the US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it considers to be a terrorist group and an extension of Kurdish insurgents fighting within Turkey.

Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said Turkey will not tolerate the presence of the YPG “anywhere” along its southern border - raising fears of escalation.