Turkey starts ground operation in northern Syria

Thursday, 2019-10-10 10:18:18
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Photo released by Turkish Defense Ministry shows Turkish army launches a military operation into northern Syria on the Turkey-Syria border, on October 9, 2019. (Source: Xinhua)
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Turkish Armed Forces on late Wednesday (October 9) began a land operation into northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

"The Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army have launched the land operation into the east of the Euphrates river as part of the Operation Peace Spring," the Turkish Defense Ministry said on its Twitter account.

Turkish soldiers entered Syrian border towns Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad through four different paths after hours of heavy airstrikes and howitzer shelling, military sources told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Turkish jets destroyed the targets of YPG/PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) 30 km deep in east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria as part of the operation, Anadolu Agency reported.

* At least eight civilians were killed and 20 others wounded on Wednesday by Turkish shelling on Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
SANA said that three children and a woman were among the killed by Turkish artillery shelling on the city of Qamishli, and the towns of Ras al-Ayn, and al-Darbasiyah in the countryside of Hasakah, which is largely controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its broader umbrella of the People's Protection Units (YPG).

This comes as the Turkish Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday evening the commencement of the ground incursion of areas controlled by the SDF in northern Syria, hours after starting its broader military assault with shelling and airstrikes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his country has launched a military operation in northern Syria against the Kurdish forces that Ankara deems as terrorists and separatists.

Turkey sees the YPG and the SDF as separatists and terrorists, citing their links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

The US, which is backing the SDF, has withdrawn troops from the region where Turkey was planning to target.

The Turkish operation has drawn criticism from regional and international powers.