The Turkish army shelled several localities in northeastern Syria on Wednesday before launching a ground operation, resulting in at least 15 deaths and thousands of displaced.
After hours of bombing, the Turkish army and its Syrian auxiliaries entered the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish-dominated fighters, on Wednesday (October 9th) in northeastern Syria., which, allied to Americans in the region since 2015, has paid a heavy price to the fight against the Islamic State (IS) organization.
" Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army (the new name of the Syrian rebels backed by Ankara) began Operation "Source of Peace" in northern Syria. " It is through this message, written in Turkish, English and Arabic, on the Twitter account of the Turkish President, that the new front has opened in this region, which until now has been rather stable thanks to the joint efforts of the SDS and their Western allies – American, French and British.
As early as Wednesday afternoon, Turkish air force and artillery targeted several border localities in northern Syria – Tall Abyad, Ras al-Ain, Kamechliyah, Ayn Issa and Kobane -, throwing thousands of civilians on the ground. Exodus routes. The operation has already killed at least 15 people, including 8 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Humanitarian teams said they were evacuating northeastern Syria.
"Opposing forces entered Tall Abyad and Ras al-Ain and were repulsed"Bayan Jiya Kurd, a senior Kurdish official, said fighting was continuing in both cities on Thursday morning. According to an on-site source contacted by telephone, pro-Kurdish forces reportedly entered Tall Abyad. The city has been deserted by its inhabitants. Bayan Jiya Kurd also said that on Thursday morning, artillery fire and air strikes targeted the city of Kobane.
The return of refugees
The ground offensive targets the Syrian cities of Tall Abyad and Ras al-Ain, from which US forces withdrew on Monday, hours after Donald Trump's tacit green light for the Turkish military operation. Mostly populated by Arabs and located on flat ground, these two cities are the weak links of the "Kurdish belt" which extends from the east of the Euphrates to the Iraqi border.
Formerly held by ISIS, Tall Abyad has long served as a point of entry for foreign jihadists who joined the ranks of the self-proclaimed "caliphate" until Kurdish forces took over the locality in June 2015. The city is located on a major road that leads to Rakka, and whose access is easy for Turkish tanks. By entering this zone, the Turkish army intends to cut off the territorial continuity established by the Kurdish forces.