In breaking news, Turkey has launched a military operation on Kurdish positions in northern Syria on Wednesday, with airstrikes and explosions reported near the border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the attack on Twitter, labelling it “Operation Peace Spring”.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” stated President Erdogan.
The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
The announcement from Ankara came three days after President Donald Trump agreed to move American troops out of the region to clear the way for Ankara.
According to reporters on the ground, moments later, a cloud of white smoke rose over the Ras al-Ain border area and warplanes could be seen flying overhead.
Turkish television has since broadcast footage of fighter jets taking off and artillery firing.
Hundreds of families in northern Syria were seen in there cars and motorcycles carrying five or more people trying to flee.
According to Erdogan, Turkey is trying to secure its borders and to wipe out “terrorists.” He says he will eventually seek the return of Syrians to their country, millions of whom have fled to Turkey during the civil war. The Kurds, however, say the operation is mainly aimed at crushing them.