Turkish troops have begun an offensive in northern Syria, which could bring them into direct conflict with Kurdish-led forces allied to the United States. The decision was announced by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He wrote on Twitter, the operation is called Operation Peace Spring targeting Islamic State and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units. Erdogan said the mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across Turkey’s southern border and to bring peace to the area.
President Donald Trump controversially withdrew US troops ahead of the action but says Turkey may face economic consequences.
According to media reports, several large explosions were reported in the Syrian town of Ras al Ain, across the border from the Turkish city of Ceylanpinar.
Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported shelling of Kurdish militant positions in the border town of Tal Abyad.
According to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), civilian areas came under attack from Turkish planes.
Meanwhile, Syrian Kurds called on Damascus’ ally Russia to facilitate dialogue with the regime. The plea came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow has contacted both the Kurdish authorities and Damascus, urging them to begin dialogue to ensure security on the Turkish-Syrian border.