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Kurdish forces claim to have 'repulsed' Turkish offensive in Syria

Turkish armoured vehicles arrive at Akcakale, a Turkish border town before they enter Syria. [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 October, 2019

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Turkey's military operation in northeastern Syria began on Wednesday following the withdrawal of US troops from the region.

Kurdish forces say they repulsed a fresh Turkish ground attack in north-eastern Syria, AFP reported. This comes a day after Ankara launched a cross border military campaign to establish a safe zone under their control.

Turkish forces launched an offensive in Kurdish controlled areas on Wednesday that was met with widespread international condemnation. 

A Turkish ground assault on the border town of Tal Abyad was repulsed by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - the autonomous Kurdish administration's de facto army – they said in a statement.

Also read: Pompeo says US did not 'green light' Turkey's Syria offensive

On Thursday, the SDF said they held off another incursion attempt in the Ras al-Ain area, further east.

Our forces "confronted a field incursion attempt by the Turkish occupation army on the axis of Tal Halaf and Aluk", the SDF said in a statement.

Ankara has said the Turkish operation was going as planned.

"The Spring of Peace Operation was successfully conducted overnight, from the air and on the ground," it said in a statement.

The Turkish military operation began following the withdrawal of US troops from the region, a move that the Kurds, longtime American allies, see as an act of betrayal. 

Turkish media reports suggest the goal of the operation is to create a "safe zone" over an area about 30 kilometres (20 miles) deep and stretching about 120 kilometres along the border between Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad.

Turkey's troops and its Syrian proxies have yet to enter either of the two towns, but are moving into the mainly Arab surrounding villages and countryside.

Dozens of vehicles carrying Syrian former rebels crossed into Syria as part of the Turkish offensive. They were cheered by Turkish well-wishers as they passed the crossing in Akcakale.

The outgunned SDF have called on civilians to join the resistance against the Turkish assault, and are are expected to focus their defence on the area's main urban centers.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 19 members of the SDF and eight civilians have been killed by Turkish shelling and air strikes so far.

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