Europeans on UN Security Council demand Turkey halt Syria offensive

Europeans on UN Security Council demand Turkey halt Syria offensive

Mr Trump concluded Thursday by tweeting that the USA "did our job perfectly" in Syria and now had three choices in dealing with the crisis - send thousands of troops to secure the area, impose economic sanctions on Turkey or "mediate a deal" between the Turks and the Kurds.

Smoke billows from targets inside Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces on Thursday.

The United States will introduce sanctions against Turkey if it acts in a way that is disproportionate and inhumane, said a US State Department official. Now Turkey is attacking the Kurds, who have been fighting each other for 200 years.

Violent clashes have taken place primarily around the Syrian border towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, which are controlled by the YPG. Both sides report civilian deaths and injuries as mortars are lobbed over the border into Turkey.

The Kurdish officials said Turkish shells fell near another prison facility on Friday and Wednesday in Qamishli, which is only 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the Turkish border. Some made victory signs, shouting "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) and waving Syrian rebel flags as they advanced toward Ras al Ain. Reuters journalists heard gunfire there from across the frontier in the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated the goal of the operation is to secure an area inside Syria to resettle 3.6 million Syrian refugees now residing in Turkey, as well as to fight Kurdish groups Turkey deems terrorist organizations. It says it has killed 277 militants in total.

US President Donald Trump cleared the way for Turkey's air and ground invasion after he pulled American troops from their positions near the border, drawing swift bipartisan criticism that he was endangering regional stability and putting at risk the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who brought down the ISIS group in Syria.

Esper insisted the Kurds remain a viable partner.

An SDF Twitter account said an attack by Turkish Forces East of the Jalab River had been repaired, with three military vehicles destroyed and 22 enemy fighters killed.

He said it would mean Syrian refugees could go back home and that he supported everything President Recep Tayyip Erdogan does.

The risk that thousands of the jihadists they still hold could break free on the back of the Turkish assault could yet spur the worldwide community into action.

Medecins Sans Frontieres said a hospital in Tel Abyad had been forced to shut after most of its staff fled.

"I'm not seeing any indication or warnings of any planned stoppage of their military activity", said Milley, the top USA military officer.

Whether he understands this or not, Trump hasn't ordered the withdrawal of USA servicemen and women from Syria.

"What does Erdogan want from us?" asked one woman, as she and her family settled in a school the local authorities had turned into an emergency shelter. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said 342 "terrorists" - Ankara's term for Syrian Kurdish militiamen - have been killed so far.

Seven civilians including a nine-month-old baby were killed in Turkish border towns in Sanliurfa and Mardin provinces.

The International Rescue Committee says 64,000 people have already been displaced and hundreds of thousands of other people could soon become homeless. Sevinaz, a resident of Ras al-Ain, told the BBC on Thursday morning: "I'm outside the town with my sick mother".

Erdogan also said that some 370,000 refugees have returned to the northwestern Syrian cities of Afrin and Jarablus.

"It endangers our allies in the fight against terror, the (Syrian Democratic Forces)", the official said.

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