Europe

Turkey: 71 Syrian Kurdish fighters killed in northern Syria

FILE - This frame grab from a video provided by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), shows fighters from the SDF opening fire on an Islamic State group's position, in Raqqa's eastern countryside, Syria, Monday, March 6, 2017. The main U.S.-backed force fighting the Islamic State group in Syria has enough fighters to capture the extremists' de facto capital of Raqqa north of the country at a time when U.S. troops are playing a bigger role on the ground in the battle to conquer the city, a spokeswoman for the force said Friday, March 10, 2017. (Syria Democratic Forces, via AP)

FILE - This frame grab from a video provided by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), shows fighters from the SDF opening fire on an Islamic State group's position, in Raqqa's eastern countryside, Syria, Monday, March 6, 2017. The main U.S.-backed force fighting the Islamic State group in Syria has enough fighters to capture the extremists' de facto capital of Raqqa north of the country at a time when U.S. troops are playing a bigger role on the ground in the battle to conquer the city, a spokeswoman for the force said Friday, March 10, 2017. (Syria Democratic Forces, via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Turkey's military says Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces have killed — or "neutralized" — 71 Syrian Kurdish fighters in northern Syria this week.

The operations are part of Turkey's months-long incursion into its war-torn neighbor in a push against the Islamic State group but also in an effort to restrict U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militias, which Ankara has declared a terrorist organization and which it considers to be linked to its home-grown Kurdish insurgency.

Friday's military statement says that since the Turkish operation started in August, the joint Turkish and Syrian opposition forces killed as many as 2,647 IS militants and 425 Syrian Kurdish fighters in Syria.

It says that more than 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) in northern Syria are now under control of the Turkish-backed forces.