- Title: Turkish warplanes and artillery kick off offensive in northeast Syria
- Date: 9th October 2019
- Summary: DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY (OCTOBER 9, 2019) (REUTERS) TURKISH JET TAKING OFF FROM AIR BASE, FLYING OVER BUILDINGS ANOTHER JET TAKING OFF
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2019 16:48
- Keywords: Turkish offensive in Syria Northeast Syria Turkish military operation Tal Abyad Ras al-ain
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA009B0DLM4N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS NOTE: THIS IS A HIGHLIGHTS WRAP OF MATERIAL THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PUBLISHED. IT DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY FRESH MATERIAL
Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria on Wednesday (October 9), with air strikes hitting the border town of Ras al Ain.
It was Turkey's third such incursion since 2016. Motivated largely by the aim of containing Syrian Kurdish power, Turkey already has troops on the ground across an arc of northwestern Syria, the last stronghold of anti-Damascus rebels.
Turkey has two main goals in northeast Syria: to drive the Kurdish YPG militia which it deems a security threat away from its border, and to create a space inside Syria where two million Syrian refugees currently hosted in Turkey can be settled.
It had been pushing the United States to jointly establish a "safe zone" extending 20 miles (32 km) into Syrian territory, but repeatedly warned it could take unilateral military action after accusing Washington of dragging its feet.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have spent years expanding its control across northern and eastern Syria, helped by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. A rare case of a winner in the Syrian war, the Kurds and their allies have set up their own governing bodies while always insisting their aim is autonomy, not independence.
All of this could unravel with Turkey's military advance. The SDF-affiliated Syrian Democratic Council has said an attack would trigger a new wave of mass displacement.
The northeastern border region, currently controlled by Kurdish-led forces, stretches 480 km (300 miles) from the Euphrates River in the west to the Iraq border to the east.
The immediate focus of Turkey's military plans appears to be around a section of the border between the towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, which are about 100 km (62 miles) apart. A U.S. official told Reuters on Monday (October 7) U.S. forces had withdrawn from observation posts there.
(Production: George Negas, Chiara Rodriquez)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None