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Turkey Sends Forces Into Syria after US Pulls out

Turkey Sends Forces Into Syria after US Pulls out

from Associated Press reports
Created: October 09, 2019 03:53 PM

A security official says Turkey's ground forces and Turkish-allied Syrian opposition forces have crossed into an area of northern Syria in a four-pronged offensive.

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The security official based near Turkey's border with Syria would not say how many troops are involved in the ground operation that began Wednesday hours after Turkish jets and artillery pounded Syrian Kurdish targets in the region.

The official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.

Earlier, Turkey's Defense Ministry confirmed that Turkish troops, joined by allied Syrian opposition forces, moved into Syria on Wednesday to fight against Kurdish fighters. It did not provide further details.

Turkey's offensive - named Operation Peace Spring - came after U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to withdraw American troops from the area, paving the way for an assault on forces that have long been allied with the United States.

Turkey aims to create a so-called "safe zone" that would be cleared of Kurdish fighters - that Ankara considers to be terrorists and an extention of Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey - and eventually allow for the return of refugees.

A Syrian war monitor and an activist collective in Kurdish-held areas say at least seven civilians have been killed in Turkish strikes in northeastern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at eight, including two Christian Assyrians in the city of Qamishli, a husband and wife and their child as well as another man in a village outside of the town of Tal Abyad, and a child in a village west of Qamishli. Also killed was a man in Ras al-Ayn, it said.

The Rojava Information Center, an activist collective in northeast Syria, counted seven killed.

The Observatory said at least seven fighters from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the fighting. The Rojava center put the death toll at three.

Credits

from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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