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Turkey has acknowledged its first combat death in a military offensive against the Kurdish-dominated enclave of Afrin in neighbouring Syria that was launched over the weekend.

The military said in a statement the soldier had been killed in clashes with Kurdish militiamen just south of the Turkish border .

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor with wide contacts inside Syria, said 24 civilians had died after three days of intense shelling and airstrikes, as well as 25 Syrian rebels fighting alongside Turkey and 26 Kurdish fighters.