Turkish-led forces advance into Syrian border town, fighting rages

13 Octobre, 2019, 03:29 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Open source

Turkey said its military and allied Syrian rebels had captured the town centre, but the Kurdish-led SDF forces denied it had fallen.

At least 23 SDF fighters have been killed, including in overnight clashes, bringing the over death toll since the Turkish offensive began on Wednesday to 81, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

"A contingent of US commandos was attacked at northern Syria a few days after US President Donald Trump announced to his Turkish counterpart that he would withdraw US troops from certain positions in the area", the statement said.

It was not immediately clear how close the shelling came to the US troops in the mostly-Kurdish town of Kobane, west of the Euphrates River and about 45 miles from the scene of the ground incursion in northeastern Syria, the Newsweek report said, citing a Pentagon official and an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence source.

Ankara began its onslaught against the YPG militia, which it says is a terrorist group backing Kurdish rebels in Turkey, after Trump withdrew some USA troops there to support Kurdish forces in the fight against Islamic State.

He said the SDF was now fighting on two fronts - continuing to cooperate with the US-led coalition against Islamic State while also confronting the Turkish armed forces.

The two incidents follow a chorus of warnings from experts and security officials who stated that a Turkish invasion could help ISIS stage mass prison breaks and allow the terror outfit to regroup.

The Arab League's meeting came as Turkey's offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters entered its fourth day.

Boris Johnson has expressed "grave concern" about the situation in northern Syria, calling on Turkey to end its military operation in the area.

Ankara says its forces' mission is to establish a safe zone run by its mainly Arab Syrian allies in which some of the 3.6 million mostly Arab refugees from Syria can be rehoused.

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"Now that Turkey has started its attacks, the stability that has been being built here is all compromised, and we can expect the threat of ISIS and other sleep-cell groups to again increase", she said.

Asked about the accusation that Turkey-backed groups had killed Khalaf, the spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Army, which groups Syrian rebel factions, said they had not made it as far as the highway known as the M4.

The officer said that Turkey knew there were Americans on the hill and that it had to be deliberate.

Erdogan has threatened to send them to Europe if the European Union does not back his assault.

Aid groups have warned of yet another humanitarian disaster in Syria's eight-year-old war if the offensive is not stopped.

In his statement on Saturday, SDF official Redur Xelil demanded the U.S. help protect the Kurdish fighters by closing air space to Turkish planes, describing it as a moral obligation.

According to an earlier Pentagon statement, Turkish shells "exploded a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present".

Turkey is fighting them, claiming they are a terrorist organisation.

Iran offered on Saturday to engage Syrian Kurds, Syria's government and Turkey in talks to establish security along the Turkish-Syrian border.

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