Turkey launches airstrikes in North Syria against US allies

Turkey bombed parts of north-eastern Syria which could start a new conflict with Kurdish-led allies of the US.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was to create a “safe zone” cleared of Kurdish militias which will also house Syrian refugees.

Several locations were hit and at least two civilians died, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said.

It vowed to resist any Turkish advance across the border.

Amid growing humanitarian concerns, the SDF asked the US-led coalition against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) to establish a no-fly zone in the area to stop “attacks on innocent people”.

The Kurds – key US allies in defeating IS in Syria – guard thousands of IS fighters and their relatives in prisons and camps in areas under their control and it is unclear whether they will continue to be safely detained.

The offensive was launched just days after President Donald Trump controversially withdrew US troops from the border area, a decision announced after a phone call with Mr Erdogan that was widely condemned at home and abroad.

In a statement President Trump said he “has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea”. Earlier this week Mr. Trump threatened to “obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it went “off limits” in the incursion.

Meanwhile, Turkish President wrote 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” vowing to “preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.”

It’s still unclear if Turkey launched ground forces to enter Syria.

Several towns and villages were hit by air strikes and artillery fire, and residents were said to be fleeing the towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. Two civilians had been killed and two others injured in Mosharrafa.

Source : Various