Ankara (Web Desk): Turkish warplanes has started bombing parts of north-eastern Syria on Wednesday at the start of an offensive, prompting fears of conflict with Kurdish-led allies of the US.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday the start of the attack on Twitter and soon after jets and artillery targeted Kurdish positions along the full width of the border, sending thousands of civilians fleeing their homes.
The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
That was followed late in the evening by the beginning of a ground operation, the Turkish defence ministry said.
Turkish artillery shelling is targeting areas near the Bouzra dam in Derik, which provides water to civilians in northern Syria, according to the SDF which said it had halted counter-ISIS operations to focus on the Turkish offensive.
SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted Wednesday that the forces would “clash against the Turks to stop them from crossing the border.
“We will use all our possibilities against Turkish aggression,” Bali said.
The offensive was launched just days after US President Donald Trump controversially withdrew US troops from northern Syria; Trump talked to Erdogan after which the decision was made.
Though the scale of the offensive is not yet clear, Erdogan stated on Twitter that the mission “was to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area” and that it would “preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.”