ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkish-backed Syrian rebels seized management of the middle of the Syrian border city of Ras al Ain city on Saturday, a senior Turkish safety official stated, as Turkey’s offensive towards a Kurdish militia within the area entered its fourth day.
An explosion and smoke are seen over the Syrian city of Ras al-Ain as seen from the Turkish border city of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
“The (Syrian insurgent) nationwide military took management of the city heart this morning. Inspections are being carried out in residential areas,” the official instructed Reuters.
Turkish forces had in a single day stepped up their bombardment of Ras al Ain of their incursion, after U.S. troops within the area got here underneath artillery hearth from Turkish positions.
America has ramped up its efforts to steer Ankara to halt the offensive towards the U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG forces, saying Ankara was inflicting “nice hurt” to ties and will face sanctions.
Turkey launched its incursion after U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by cellphone on Sunday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and withdrew U.S. troops who had been combating alongside Kurdish forces.
There was fierce worldwide criticism of the assault and concern about its humanitarian penalties. The Syrian Kurdish-led administration stated almost 200,000 individuals have been displaced on account of the offensive.
Erdogan dismissed the mounting criticism of the operation and stated on Friday night that Turkey “won’t cease it, it doesn’t matter what anybody says”.
Thick plumes of smoke rose round Ras al Ain, one among two Syrian border cities focused within the offensive, on Saturday as Turkish artillery pounded the realm, stated a Reuters reporter throughout the frontier within the Turkish city of Ceylanpinar.
Intense gunfire additionally resounded from inside Ras al Ain whereas warplanes might be heard flying overhead.
It was quieter at Tel Abyad, the operation’s different principal goal some 120 km (75 miles) to the west, with solely occasional shelling heard within the space, one other Reuters reporter stated.
(For a graphic on ‘Turkey hits Kurdish militia targets’, click on right here)
The Turkish-backed Syrian rebels stated earlier that they had reduce the highway which connects Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad and had captured 18 villages because the operation started. Officers with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
On Friday, the Pentagon stated U.S. troops got here underneath artillery hearth from Turkish emplacements although none of its troopers have been wounded close to the Syrian border city of Kobani, 60 km (37 miles) west of the principle space of battle.
Turkey’s Defence Ministry stated its forces didn’t open hearth on the U.S. base and took all precautions to forestall any hurt to it whereas it was responding to fireside from a close-by space by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a terrorist group.
(For a graphic on ‘The place Kurds reside’, click on right here)
(The story was refiled to take away garble from paragraph three)
Reporting by Daren Butler, Tom Perry in Beirut, Omar Fahmy in Cairo and Reuters correspondents within the area; Enhancing by Mark Heinrich