Turkey Syria offensive: Heavy fighting on second day of assault

Turkish-backed Syrian rebelsImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Turkish-backed rebels from a Free Syrian Army, graphic here channel a limit into Syria, are also concerned in a offensive

Heavy fighting is reported in northern Syria on a second day of a Turkish descent into Kurdish-held areas.

Turkey says it has seized a series of designated targets and killed dozens of Kurdish militants.

Tens of thousands of people are reported to be journey their homes, and Kurds news several municipal deaths.

Turkey says it wants to emanate a “safe zone” privileged of Kurdish militias that will also residence some of a millions of Syrian refugees it hosts.

The long-planned Turkish descent began after President Donald Trump withdrew US infantry from a area, that has been hold by a Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF have been pivotal US allies in a conflict opposite a Islamic State (IS) organisation yet Turkey regards their widespread Kurdish militias as terrorists.

  • Turkey v Syria’s Kurds explained
  • Four maps explaining a offensive
  • Could Turkish descent unleash IS threat?

Many in a US, including some of Mr Trump’s Republican allies, saw a withdrawal as effectively giving a immature light for Turkey, nonetheless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday denied this. The SDF pronounced they had been “stabbed in a back”.

Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday that he was perplexing to finish “endless wars” yet added: “I contend strike Turkey really tough financially with sanctions if they don’t play by a rules! we am examination closely.” He also pronounced he was “talking to both sides”.

The descent has drawn general condemnation. The UN Security Council is due to plead it on Thursday during a ask of a stream 5 EU members – a UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly shielded a incursion, melancholy to send a Syrian refugees it hosts to Europe if a Turkish descent is described as an occupation.

What is duty on a ground?

Kurdish sources news a vast belligerent descent between a towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad, in a executive area of Syrian’s northern limit with Turkey.

  • Who are a Kurds?

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels from a Free Syrian Army have also been concerned in a fighting.

The area is frugally populated and especially inhabited by Arabs. Ras al-Ain has been strike by countless atmosphere strikes.

Turkey’s counterclaim method pronounced on Twitter that a operation had continued successfully on land and in a air. Reports contend a series of villages easterly of Tal Abyad were captured.

Mr Erdogan pronounced 109 militants had been killed, harmed or prisoner in a initial fighting. The SDF pronounced a figure was an exaggeration.

Media captionSome residents began to rush as fume rose over a city of Ras al-Ain

The UK-based monitoring group, a Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, pronounced during slightest 16 SDF fighters had been killed and dozens some-more injured.

  • Who are a IS prisoners nobody wants?
  • Why a conflict for northern Syria matters

The Kurdish Red Crescent pronounced during slightest 7 civilians had so distant been killed, dual of them children, and during slightest 19 some-more critically injured, including 4 children.

The Syrian Observatory pronounced some-more than 60,000 people had fled given a descent began, with a towns of Ras al-Ain and Darbasiya mostly deserted.

Kurdish authorities indicted Turkey of shelling a jail holding IS inmates in Qamishli in a easterly of a limit segment in a “clear attempt” to assistance them escape.

The BBC’s Orla Guerin also says that during slightest 3 rounds of what seemed to be retaliatory Kurdish artillery glow strike a categorical travel of a Turkish city of Akcakale, murdering during slightest one resident.

What insurgency can a Kurdish-led army offer?

The SDF now series about 40,000 fighters, with tens of thousands of others in together Kurdish confidence services, Kurdish sources say.

The US corner charge force on operations opposite IS in Iraq and Syria describes them as “tenacious fighters with a grade of simple troops training to duty as infantrymen”.

But they are deficient in complicated weaponry that could be used opposite tanks or aircraft, yet some units might have anti-tank missiles.

In operations opposite IS, they relied on tighten bloc atmosphere support yet in a flat, open nation of Syria’s northern limit they will be exposed to atmosphere and artillery attack.

Turkey considers a Kurdish YPG company – a widespread force in a SDF – an prolongation of a criminialized Kurdistan Workers’ Party, that has fought for Kurdish liberty in Turkey for 3 decades.

Transactional alliances

On Wednesday, President Trump told a news discussion a Turks and Kurds had “been fighting any other for centuries” and that Kurdish fighters “didn’t assistance us in a Second World War, they didn’t assistance us with [the D-Day landings in] Normandy”.

Even by President Trump’s possess conspicuous standards this off-the-cuff acknowledgement personification down a US fondness with a Kurds is extraordinary.

For Mr Trump alliances are simply transactional – business arrangements to be judged according to a heartless and short-term cost advantage analysis. What is a US giving and what is it removing in return?

In clearly essay off a Kurds he suggests that a US can simply find other allies in a region. Really? Has he already lost new history? The Kurds were a usually able and arguable internal fan in a onslaught opposite IS.

But what will Mr Trump do about Turkey who, incidentally, were not during Normandy either? This is quick apropos a vital exam of Turkey’s station within Nato, with many fearing it has turn a distant from arguable fan of a West.

Media captionTrump: Kurds “didn’t assistance us in Second World War”

How is a intrusion inspiring a IS situation?

The SDF contend they are holding some-more than 12,000 suspected IS members in 7 prisons, and during slightest 4,000 of them are unfamiliar nationals. The accurate locations have not been revealed, yet some are reportedly tighten to a Turkish border.

Media captionInside a stay of IS families in Syria

Two camps – Roj and Ain Issa – holding families of suspected IS members are inside a “safe zone”. It is misleading either a Kurds will continue to ensure a prisons as fighting breaks out.

The US troops says it has taken control of dual British detainees scandalous for their roles in an IS dungeon that tortured and killed scarcely 30 Western hostages.

The dual men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, were partial of a British dungeon nicknamed The Beatles.

They have now been private from a jail run by a Kurdish-led company in northern Syria.

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