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Turkey starts military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria

09 Oct 2019, 19:53 ( 4 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Turkish parliament members vote for a motion to extend the government's authority to launch cross-border military operations in Iraq and Syria, in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 8, 2019. Photo Xinhua.

Turkey officially started its military campaign against Kurdish forces in northern Syria on Wednesday, Syria's state TV reported.

   The Turkish campaign started by shelling the positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Ras al-Ayn area in the countryside of the northeastern province of Hasakah, said the TV.

   The Turkish side is heavily shelling the SDF sites amid a large wave of displacement from the civilians, said the report.

   The report said the Turkish shelling is "random" and is destroying the infrastructure in Ras al-Ayn. It added that the artillery shelling is also targeting the town of Ayn Issa in the northern countryside of the northern province of Raqqa.

   Meanwhile, 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 launched the operation with the help of the Turkey-backed rebels in northern Syria, which have recently joined force under the umbrella of the so-called Syrian National Army.

   Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said that the SDF got informed about the Turkish airstrikes and evacuated several positions ahead of the strikes.

   Erdogan recently said that Ankara was ready to launch military operations against the People's Protection Unit (YPG) and its allies of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the east of the Euphrates in northern Syria "at any moment."

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

   With the help of the U.S.-led coalition, the Kurdish militia forces have been controlling areas in northern Syria since the early years of the crisis in Syria, in order to force Damascus to recognize a federal rule or autonomy for the Kurds in northern Syria.

   However, Syrian government officials repeatedly said that Kurdish federalization in Syria or self-rule is out of the question.