Turkey’s President Erdogan announced the launch of military Operation Peace Spring, supported by Syrian rebels and opposition forces against terrorists, in northern Syria where Ankara aims to establish a safe zone and relocate Syrian refugees. Turkish Armed Forces’ military vehicles at Syrian border in Akcakale district of Turkey’s Sanliurfa on October 10, 2019. (AA) October 10, Thursday
Turkish troops capture initial targets in northern Syria
Turkish forces carrying out a military offensive into northeast Syria have captured initial targets and the operation is continuing successfully as planned, the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Thursday.
It said the operation continued throughout the night by land and air.
Turkish troops advance into northern Syria
Turkish troops are continuing their advance into northern Syria following a ground offensive launched as part of Operation Peace Spring, the Defense Ministry said early on Thursday.
“Our heroic commandos who are participating in Operation Peace Spring continue to advance [into the region] east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria,” the ministry said on Twitter.
“Our army continues its fight against terrorists, while its main priority is to protect civilians from harm,” Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter, touching on the purpose of the operation.
October 9, Wednesday
Turkish Armed Forces hit 181 targets belonging to terror organisations
Turkish airstrikes and howitzers hit 181 terror targets as part of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, said Defense Ministry on Thursday.
“Within the scope of the Operation Peace Spring; Turkish Armed Forces hit 181 terrorist positions with air forces elements and fire supporter vehicles,” a tweet from the Operation Peace Spring Twitter account said.
US moves two British Daesh members from Syria
Two British militants, believed to be part of a Daesh group that beheaded hostages and was known as “The Beatles”, have been moved out of a detention center in Syria and moved to US-controlled location out of the war-torn country.
President Donald Trump said that the US moved some of the Daesh prisoners as a contingency for in case the situation in northern Syria gets out of control.
Erdogan prevented scattering of Syrian refugees – Trump
US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that millions of Syrian refugees would be scattered around the world if Turkey were not hosting them.
Speaking at a press conference at the White House, Trump said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to repatriate the refugees.
“Right now, he’s holding, in all fairness to him, he’s holding millions of people that would be all over the place if he wasn’t holding them,” said Trump.
“So he wants to repatriate, he wants to have them go back into the area that he’s looking at.”
Trump also acknowledged that the PKK – designated a terror organisation by the US, EU and Turkey – “have worked with us”.
Trump blamed former US President Barack Obama for aligning with PKK, calling the terror group the “mortal enemy of Turkey”.
Ground operation begins in northern Syria
Turkey's Defense Ministry has said its ground forces have crossed the border into Syria as part of the Operation Peace Spring.
In a statement, the ministry said Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army have started land operations in east of the Euphrates River.
Turkish fighter jets fly 30 km deep in northern Syria
Turkish jets destroyed YPG/PKK targets 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) deep east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria as part of Operation Peace Spring.
YPG/PKK targets at the Rami Airbase and its ammunition depot near Ayn Isa district, as well as five villages, including Aluk and Tal Fender, were hit by Turkish F-16 jets.
The airstrikes also hit the terrorist elements in the city of Ras al Ayn, as well as those in the rural areas of Derik and Qamasli districts.
Meanwhile, an Anadolu Agency footage showed YPG/PKK terrorists burning tires in Ras al Ayn to block the recording of Turkish drones and the view of fighter jets.
The footage recorded black fumes covering the city sky after tires were burned.
Operation targets terrorists – defense ministry
Operation Peace Spring is only targeting terrorists in northern Syria, as did previous Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
“It is carried out respectfully to the territorial integrity of Syria in line with the country’s right borne out of international law, UN Security Council resolutions on fighting against terrorism and under the right to “self-defence” of the UN Charter,” it said.
“As in the Euphrates Shield Operation and the Olive Branch Operation, only terrorists, their shelters, positions, weapons, tools and equipment are targeted in the planning and implementation of the operation,” the defence ministry said, adding all kinds of attention and sensitivity are shown to prevent the damages of civil/innocent people and historical, cultural, religious structures, infrastructure facilities and elements of friendly and allied countries in the region.
Mortar shells hit Turkish border town
Two mortar shells hit Turkey's border town of Ceylanpinar, but there were no casualties, Turkish broadcaster NTV said.
The shells landed shortly after Turkey and its Syrian opposition and rebel allies launched an offensive against YPG terror group in northeastern Syria, it said.
Turkey informs NATO, UN, countries about operation
Turkey informed the US, UK, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, NATO, and the UN about its Operation Peace Spring, Turkish National Defense Ministry said.
“The US, Russian Federation, the UK, Germany, France and Italy, NATO and United Nations secretary-general were informed about the Operation Peace Spring from 1100 GMT,” said the ministry on Twitter.
Turkey had 'legitimate security concerns'
Turkey has said its military operation in northeastern Syria will be restrained, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
Stoltenberg told reporters that Turkey had “legitimate security concerns” and had informed NATO about its attack earlier in the day.
“Our ally Turkey is at the forefront of the crisis and has legitimate concerns. It has suffered horrendous terrorist attacks and hosts millions of refugees,” Stoltenberg said.
“I am ensured that any action it may take in northern Syria is proportionate and measured,” he said after meeting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
“It is important to avoid actions that may further destabilise the region, escalate tensions and cause more human suffering,” he added.
EU says won't pay for 'safe zone'
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker urged Turkey to halt its military operation in northern Syria, telling Ankara the bloc would not pay for any so-called “safe zone” that might be created.
“I call on Turkey as well as the other actors to act with restraint and to stop operations already as we are speaking under way,” Juncker said at the European Parliament.
Turkey of risking Daesh resurgence – Germany
Turkey “is willingly risking further destabilising the region and a resurgence of IS” [Daesh] by attacking northeastern Syria, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
“Syria needs stability and a political process… however, the Turkish offensive now threatens to cause a new humanitarian disaster,” Maas said in a statement, adding that Berlin would “urge Turkey to end its offensive and to pursue its security interests peacefully.”
Turkish military targets Tal Abyad
Turkish military is using howitzers on targets in Tal Abyad town as part of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, Anadolu Agency reported.
Tal Abyad is 100 kilometres from Ras al Ayn in northeastern Syria, near the border with Turkey.
Turkey launched military Operation Peace Spring on Wednesday, with the first air strikes hitting the border town of Ras al Ayn.
READ MORE: Twitter reactions to Turkey's Operation Peace Spring
Turkey's military offensive in Syria begins – Erdogan
Turkish troops and the newly-regrouped Syrian National Army (SNA) began Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.
The operation aims to protect Syria’s territorial integrity and save the people of the region from the grip of terror, Erdogan tweeted at the start of military action in Ras al Ayn in northeastern Syria.
The Turkish president said the operation will neutralise terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone that will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
“We will preserve Syria's territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists,” Erdogan said.
#OperationPeaceSpring will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019 'Thousands of Syrian fighters mobilised'
Tens of thousands of Syrian fighters have been mobilised to take part in a Turkish offensive that appeared imminent against PKK/YPG militants in Syria, spokesman for Anwar al Haq, a small faction within the Free Syrian Army said.
The Syrian fighters, most of them from northwestern areas backed by Turkey since previous offensives in 2016 and 2018, were gathered in a former refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Akcakale.
They belong to FSA, a coalition of groups backed by Ankara, which is now regrouped as the Syrian National Army.
At least 18,000 fighters are due to participate in the first stage of the Turkish offensive, according to Abdelrahman Ghazi Dadeh.
He said 8,000 would target the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad and 10,000 the town of Ras al Ayn, Dadeh told journalists in Akcakale.
An undetermined number of additional fighters were also expected to be mobilised for an assault on Kobane.
All three main towns in northeastern Syria are controlled by YPG.
Trump says moved troops out ahead of Turkish operation
US President Donald Trump said his country's troops should never have been in the Middle East and the US moved “our 50 soldiers out” ahead of imminent Turkish operation in northern Syria.
Trump, however, said Turkey must take over captured Daesh members “that Europe refused to have returned.”
“The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”
Trump said the US has spent $8 trillion “fighting and policing in the Middle East.”
“We went to war under a false and now disproven premise – weapons of mass destruction. There were none. Now we are slowly and carefully bringing our great soldiers and military home.”
Erdogan talks to Putin over Turkish operation
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's President Vladimir Putin discussed in a phone call Turkey's planned operation into northeastern Syria, the Turkish presidency said, as Ankara gears to launch its cross-border offensive.
In the call, Erdogan told Putin that the Turkish incursion will contribute to peace and stability in the country and open the way for the political process to resolve the conflict, the presidency said in a statement.
PKK/YPG 'wants to divide Syria' – Turkey's FM
Turkey will inform all relevant countries, including the Syrian regime, about its planned offensive into northeastern Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
He said, “There's a terror organisation on our southern border. This poses serious threats to our security. We often confiscate American weapons inside our own borders. Those were given to the YPG.”
He said the YPG and the PKK are the same terrorists who also oppress the local people.
“Over 300,000 Syrian Kurds were sent to Turkey as refugees because they disagreed with them,” he said.
“This is a separatist terrorist organisation and wants to divide Syria, while we support Syria's territorial integrity. So, we've decided to start an operation against them,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey, US discuss steps for Syria 'safe zone'
Senior Turkish and US officials discussed measures for the formation of a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria and possible steps after a Turkish offensive in the region, broadcaster NTV said, as Ankara poised to launch its operation.
Ibrahim Kalin, an aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien in a phone call that Turkey's operation aimed to clear its border of militants and to ensure the return of Syrian refugees, NTV said.
'Rally behind Turkey' – Top Erdogan aide tells global community
Turkish military forces, together with the recently branded Syrian National Army will cross the Syrian border “shortly,” President Erdogan’s communications director said early on Wednesday, as a surprise withdrawal of US troops made way for the Turkish operation.
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post , Turkish Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said the US has borne the brunt of the anti-Daesh campaign for a long while.
“Turkey, which has NATO's second-largest army, is willing and able to take the lead now and drive it home, bringing millions of refugees back to Syria in the process,” Altun wrote.
“At this critical juncture, the international community must rally behind Turkey's rebuilding and stabilisation efforts,” he added.
“The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly,” he said.
READ MORE: The need for a Syria safe zone explained
PYD calls for human shields
Russia on Wednesday warned US policies in Syria could “ignite” the whole region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned of the risks of Washington sending mixed signals on an American withdrawal from northern Syria.
Also on Wednesday, the PYD ruling parts of northeastern Syria called up civilians to head to the border with Turkey ahead of planned Turkish operation.
“We announce three days of general mobilisation in northern and eastern Syria,” it said in a statement, asking all civilians to “head to the border with Turkey to fulfill their duty.”
READ MORE: Four myths about the PKK/YPG terrorist group
October 8, Tuesday
Syria opposition coalition throws support behind Turkey
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces said it is ready to fight against terrorism with Turkey.
The coalition late on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to fighting terrorism in all its forms and cooperating with its partners to defeat terrorist organisations.
The umbrella organisation, also known as the Syrian National Coalition, “is ready to combat terror in cooperation and joint action with the brothers in Turkey so as to safeguard the national interests of the Syrian people with all their Arab, Kurd, Turkmen, Assyrian, and other components,” it said in a statement.
“The coalition hopes these efforts will succeed in finding a solution that will ensure the defeat of the PYD [YPG] militia and the trans-border terror groups that turned this region into a hotbed of chaos, violence, and terrorism,” it added.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies
LINK ORIGINAL: Trtworld