Explosions shake Syria's Ras al Ain on Turkish border: CNN Turk

Evarado Alatorre
Octubre 10, 2019

Turkish airstrikes hit the town of Ras al-Ayn on the Syrian side of the border, activists in Syria said.

According to multiple current and former USA officials, the White House's announcement blindsided not just America's Kurdish partners but nearly everyone - senior officials at the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and us allies in Europe and the Middle East.

A British volunteer with the Kurds in Syria has described chaotic scenes on the border of Turkey on Wednesday as civilians fled a Turkish military offensive launch. The Turkish air strikes had killed two civilians and wounded two others, the SDF said.

The Kurdish-led civilian administration in northeastern Syria issued a "general mobilization" call along the Syrian border with Turkey on Wednesday as Ankara poised for an imminent invasion of the area in the latest major escalation in the war-ravaged country.

Donald Trump's abrupt policy change has been widely criticised in Washington as a betrayal of America's Kurdish allies who spearheaded the ground the bloody and hard-fought ground campaign against ISIS.

Turkish howitzers also started hitting bases and ammunition depots of the Kurdish YPG militia.

The artillery strikes, which also targeted YPG gun and sniper positions, were aimed at sites far from residential areas, the source said.

TV reports in Turkey said its warplanes had bombed Syrian Kurdish positions across the border.

A witness said people were fleeing en masse.

Following the statement, the SDF reported that the USA began pulling out its military contingent from the border areas.

Meanwhile, the YPG/PKK in Qamishli, northern Syria, fired six rockets targeting civilians in Nusaybin district of Mardin near the Turkey-Syria border. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Turkey's lira slid 0.5 percent, breaking through what traders called a key support level of 5.85 against the dollar to its weakest level since August.

World powers fear the Turkish action could open a new chapter in Syria's eight-year-old war and worsen regional turmoil.

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Ankara says it intends to create a 30-kilometer-deep "safety zone" along its border with Syria to resettle up to 2 million of the more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey.

But Syria said it was determined to confront any Turkish aggression by all legitimate means.

Turkey has long threatened an attack on the Kurdish fighters in Syria whom Ankara considers terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey. An influx of non-Kurdish Syrians would help it secure a buffer against its main security threat.

"We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters", Trump said, adding: that Washington was helping Kurdish fighters "financially [and with] weapons".

"This risks destabilising the region, exacerbating humanitarian suffering, and undermining the progress made against Daesh (Islamic State) which should be our collective focus", Mr Raab said in a statement. "If the plan involves the creation of a so-called safe zone, don't expect the European Union to pay for any of it", he told the European Union parliament.

Kurdish leaders said they would hold their erstwhile USA ally and the whole worldwide community responsible for any "humanitarian catastrophe".

The Kurdish-led authority in northern Syria declared a state of "general mobilisation" before the looming attack.

"We call upon our people, of all ethnic groups, to move toward areas close to the border with Turkey to carry out acts of resistance during this sensitive historical time", the local authority, known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, said.

Turkey's Demiroren news agency said Turkish-backed Syrian rebels had traveled from northwest Syria to Turkey in preparation for the incursion.

Turkey regards the Kurdish militias, which dominate the US -allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as "terrorists". They will be based in Ceylanpinar, with 14,000 of them gradually joining the offensive.

"Strike them with an iron fist, make them taste the hell of your fires", the National Army told its fighters.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest foreign ally, said Washington or Ankara did not tell them in advance about any agreements to pull out United States troops.

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