Turkey attacks Kurdish fighters, may redraw Syrian map

Fleeing civilians tell CNN they don't know where it's safe

Fleeing civilians tell CNN they don't know where it's safe

Turkey began its offensive in northern Syria on Wednesday against Kurdish fighters with air strikes and artillery shelling, before ground troops began crossing the border later in the day.

Turkish forces attempted a ground assault on the border town of Tal Abyad on Wednesday but the Syrian Democratic Forces - the autonomous Kurdish administration's de facto army - said they repulsed the attack.

According to the United Nations more than 100,000 people have fled their homes since the offensive began on Wednesday.

Briefing a small group of journalists on Thursday, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters would be strengthened with more security force officers, including police, if needed.

The Turkish army has confirmed "launched the land operation into the east of the Euphrates river" adding it had hit 181 "militant targets".

One of the beleaguered Kurds' last hopes is that the prospect of Islamic State prisoners breaking out and regrouping with increasingly active sleeper cells will spur the world into action.

Erdogan said militants from Islamic State would not be allowed to rebuild a presence in the region.

Speaking to lawmakers from his Justice and Development Party in Ankara on October 10, Erdogan threatened to "open the gates" for Syrian refugees in his country to Europe, telling the European Union, "You can not label our operation as an invasion". Turkey hosts around 3.6 million people who have fled the Syrian war.

"This is the pre-9/11 mentality that paved the way for 9/11:'What's happening in Afghanistan is no concern to us.' So if he follows through with this, it'd be the biggest mistake of his presidency", Graham told Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends".

The invasion began two days after US President Donald Trump chose to pull US troops out from northeastern Syria, in a move his critics - but also some allies - have condemned as an open betrayal of the Kurdish-led militias, namely the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Turkey's troops and Syrian proxies have yet to enter either of the two towns but are moving into surrounding villages and countryside.

Ankara insists the long-planned operation is created to protect citizens from a security threat posed by Kurdish fighters who it views as terrorists even though they fought alongside USA troops in a bloody and hard-won ground campaign against ISIS in which they lost around 11,000 personnel.

The sanctions would also apply to any person who sells or provides funds, material or technological support to the Turkish military and prohibit the United States from selling it arms and military services.

Despite a U.S. -Turkish agreement in August to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria between Turkish forces and Kurdish YPG fighters, Turkey had been threatening for months to invade Syria's northeast.

There was no immediate comment on the situation in the prisons from Turkey.

After Mr Erdogan announced the offensive, Mr Trump called the operation "a bad idea" and later said he did not want to be involved in "endless, senseless wars".

"It will cause additional civilian suffering, lead to greater population displacement, and further inhibit humanitarian access", Mr Morrison said.

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull forces out of the way was denounced by some Kurds as a "stab in the back" and strongly criticized in Washington, even by loyal senior figures in his own Republican Party.

"They have been moved out of Syria and are in a secure location", the official said, without identifying where.

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

"We have noticed that all parties are generally anxious about the possible consequences of Turkey's military operation, and urged Turkey to exercise restraint", Geng said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Turkey's military incursion and cautioned about the possibility of ethnic cleansing.

"Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people", he wrote on Twitter.

Syrian government allies Russian Federation and Iran both called for an end to the offensive.

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