A Turkish soldier was killed on Thursday in the northern Syrian region of Afrin after coming under fire from Kurdish militants, the Turkish defence ministry said.
The soldier was shot by members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants from the nearby city of Tal Rifaat, east of Afrin, the ministry said in a statement.
The Turkish army responded with "heavy fire" against YPG targets, the ministry added.
The incident comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened on Wednesday to launch an operation against the YPG in northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River, in the "next few days". His declaration came hot on the heels of Washington's announcement of observation posts in Syria intended to "prevent any altercation between the Turkish army and the YPG."
ANKARA DEPLOYED ARMORED VEHICLES CLOSER TO BORDER
The Turkish military is reinforcing its troops stationed in the province of Kilis on the Syrian border with armored vehicles.
Armored vehicles are reaching the Syrian border following the statement made by Erdoğan.
Any new offensive by Turkey would be its third operation in Syria after previous operations against IS and the YPG in August 2016 and January 2018 respectively.
But Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson on Wednesday said any unilateral military action in Syria would be a "grave concern" and "unacceptable".