Turkish-backed Syrian fighters advanced into the border town of Ras al Ain in northeast Syria on Saturday but it was unclear how far, with Turkey saying it had taken the town center, and Kurdish-led forces denying that and saying they were counter-attacking.
Turkey chased after its four-day-old, cross-border offensive against a Syrian Kurdish group of armed citizens (even though there is the existence of) an outcry from the United States and (related to Europe) Union and warnings of possible punishments unless Ankara called off its attack.
US President Donald Trump’s management said Turkey’s invasion was causing “great harm” in relations with its NATO friend. Other NATO friends Germany and France said they were blocking/forbidding weapons exports to Turkey.
The head of the Arab League criticized/insulted the operation and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to express his “grave concern” about the offensive.
Ankara began its attack against the YPG group of armed citizens, which it says is a terrorist group backing Kurdish fighters in Turkey, after Trump withdrew some US troops there to support Kurdish forces in the fight against Daesh.
The attack has raised international alarm over its mass displacement of people not in the military and the possibility of Daesh fighters escaping from Kurdish prisons leading to a (coming back to life or popularity after a long time) of the jihadist group’s revolution in Syria.
The Kurdish-led management in Syria’s northeast said nearly 200,000 people had been uprooted so far by the fighting, while the UN World Food Programme said more than 100,000 had left Ras al Ain and the town of Tel Abyad.
Turkey’s stated goal is to set up a “safe zone” inside Syria to resettle many of the 3.6 million Syrian war (people who have run away from their own countries because of bad treatment) it has been hosting. Erdogan has threatened to send them to Europe if the EU does not back his attack.
Turkish (people in charge of something) posted photos on Saturday showing (having no people) streets and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters standing on Kurdish group of armed citizens flags in Ras al Ain.
“The (Syrian rebel) National Army took control of (Ras al Ain) town center this morning,” a senior Turkish security official said, referring to Ankara-backed fighters. “(careful examinations of things) are being done in (where there are lots of homes) areas. Mine and booby trap searches are being carried out.”
Marvan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in which the YPG contains/makes up the main fighting element, said they had carried out only a “strategical retreat” in Ras al Ain in response to hours of heavy Turkish huge attack.
“Now the SDF’s attack has started and there are very strong (and scary) fights/disagrees,” Qamishlo told Reuters. “The fights/disagrees are continuing in the industrial district,” the part of Ras al Ain closest to the border.
Speaking as night fell Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, said the SDF remained in control inside Ras al Ain.
The senior Turkish official said “nearly all” YPG forces had ran away/escaped south from Ras al Ain. Turkish big guns/(the use of big guns) continued to shell parts of the town, a Reuters reporter said.
The SDF holds most of the northern Syrian (land area owned or controlled by someone) that once made up Daesh’s “important Muslim religious leaderate” in the country, and has been keeping thousands of fighters from the jihadist group in jail and tens of thousands of their family members in camps.
The SDF (charged with a crime) Turkey-backed rebel fighters of killing a Kurdish politician in a road attack on Saturday. The rebel force denied it, saying it had not advanced that far.
The Syrian (building where you look at the stars, etc.) for Human Rights, a UK-based organization which reports on the war, said Turkey-backed groups had killed nine people not in the military on the road, including Hervin Khalaf, co-chair of the (not part of the church) Future Syria Party.
In the latest international punishment/criticism of Turkey’s invasion, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit called it an “(sudden, unwanted entry into a place) of an Arab state’s land and an (angry, violent behavior) on its independent power (of a country)”.
Turkey dismissed the criticism, saying Syrian Arabs had been the biggest victims of the YPG, which it said had driven hundreds of thousands from their homes in areas it controls.