Which Syrian Groups Are Involved in Turkey's Syria Offensive?

In this image from Hawar News Agency U.S. military vehicles travel down a main road in northeast Syria on Monday

Turkey's operation began days after a pullback by US forces from the border, and senior members of US President Donald Trump's own Republican Party have condemned him for making way for the incursion and abandoning Syrian Kurds, loyal allies of Washington in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Dozens of aid workers have crossed the border from north-eastern Syria into Turkey after agencies ordered a widespread evacuation in anticipation of an expanded Turkish push into the region.

Still, the SDF, an umbrella group of several militias, is primarily controlled by the Kurdish YPG, which Ankara sees as an extension of the Turkey-based PKK militant group, deemed a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government.

The Kurdish-led authority in northern Syria said a prison struck by Turkish shelling holds "the most unsafe criminals from more than 60 nationalities" and Turkey's attacks on its prisons risked "a catastrophe".

The SDF controls much of the territory that once was held by Islamic State and is holding thousands of Islamic State fighters and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention.

Turkish airstrikes and howitzers have hit 181 targets in northern Syria as part of Operation Peace Spring, said Turkish Defense Ministry on Thursday.

"We have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters who are particularly bad and we've wanted to make sure nothing happened to them with respect to getting out", he said.

They later entered and "cleared" Tel Fander.

The Turkish defence ministry insisted the operation was going as planned.

"One of the big concerns is that many Islamic State terrorist fighters will be broken out of prison or allowed to be freed or liberated by the Turks", Mr Barton said.


Monitoring groups allege at least 15 civilians were killed during the conflict.

Explosions also rocked Ras al Ain, just across the border from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, according to a reporter for CNN Turk.

Erdogan links the Kurdish fighters to separatist militants at home and brands them "terrorists", with United States troops effectively serving as a buffer in the region before the announcement of their withdrawal. He expected Turkey to protect civilians and religious minorities and prevent a humanitarian crisis, he said.

France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, and Poland have called for a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on Syria for October 10.

After the U.N. Security Council met to discuss the fighting, the USA ambassador to the United Nations said Turkey faced unspecified "consequences" if it did not meet its pledge to protect vulnerable populations or contain Islamic State fighters.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Trump defended USA policy towards Kurds, saying Washington had spent "tremendous amounts of money" arming and funding them.

"The Kurds are fighting for their land.As somebody wrote in a very powerful article today, they didn't help us in the Second World War, they didn't help us with Normandy as an example".

"We'll continue to be in a position to do what we need to do to keep the American people as safe as we possibly can from this threat", he said.

He has said he would like the U.S. to negotiate a truce between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey and the Kurds.

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