30 civilians killed during Turkish military operation in northern Syria: monitor

Turkish drones hit YPG  PKK terror anti-aircraft gun

Turkish drones hit YPG PKK terror anti-aircraft gun

It said the 148 fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as well as from the Turkey-backed rebels and Turkish soldiers have been killed since Wednesday.

Plumes of black smoke billowed Friday from the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad as Turkey continued bombarding the area in an offensive that was progressing "successfully as planned", the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

Ms de Montchalin said European sanctions against Turkey are "obviously on the table", adding that the controversial operation would be debated at an EU summit next week.

The Turkish assault has raised alarm about its humanitarian fall-out.

But Ras al-Ain's Kurdish defenders denied the semi-deserted town had fallen and an AFP correspondent said Turkish troops and their Syrian allies had entered but had yet to capture it.

Newsweek cited anonymous Department of Defense officials who said it was unlikely that the Turkish army would mistake United States troops for Kurds in that case and that they would be aware of USA positions "down to the grid".

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) now hold thousands of suspected IS prisoners.

"Now the SDF's attack has started and there are very fierce clashes now", he told Reuters.

Speaking as night fell Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, said the SDF remained in control inside Ras al Ain.

The Turkish army has lost four dead, according to the defence ministry and the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The president is already facing strong condemnation after Newsweek revealed that U.S. Special Forces in Syria-stationed in the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani-inadvertently came under artillery fire by Turkish troops.

The United States has ramped up its efforts to persuade Ankara to halt the incursion, saying Ankara was causing "great harm" to ties and could face sanctions.

Germany, also a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, said it was banning arms exports to Turkey and the head of the Arab League denounced the offensive.

Thomas McClure, a researcher at Rojava Information Center based in Qamishli, Syria, confirmed the escape to The Epoch Times in a telephone call.

Erdogan said on October 11 that Turkey won't stop until the YPG withdraw below a 32 kilometer deep line.

The Turkish operation also aims to create a safe zone in northern Syria and resettle millions of Syrian refugees. Erdogan threatened to send them to Europe if the European Union did not back his assault.

Most of the civilian deaths were also in Tel Abyad, a border town that is one of the focal points of the operation. Intense gunfire also resounded within Ras al Ain in the early hours, while warplanes could be heard flying overhead.

"We had been there for months, and it is the most clearly defined position in that entire area", the officer said.

The SDF had earlier reported that a group of "mercenaries of the Turkish army" had killed a number of civilians on the road after infiltrating the area, without identifying them.

With little leverage left in the game, Syria's Kurds - viewed by Ankara as "terrorists" - may have to thaw ties with President Bashar al-Assad's Russian-backed regime.

"There was no shooting of the USA observation point".

On the Syrian side at least 28 civilians have been killed, according to the Britain-based Observatory, and 17 are dead in Turkey, according to Turkish reports.

As part of the operation, PKK/PYD-YPG terrorist targets were effectively hit by land and air, it said.

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands before veiled foreign women in al-Hol camp, which houses relatives of Islamic State group members in northeastern Syria on March 28, 2019.

"It has revived it and activated its cells in Qamishli and Hassakeh", he said.

Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

The SDF's Qamishlo said the attack was carried out by IS sleeper cells and another senior SDF official said the Turkish assault had given new life to the jihadist group. In its first big attack since the assault began, IS claimed responsibility for a deadly vehicle bomb in Qamishli, the largest city in the Kurdish-held area.

Linking to Newsweek's report, the USA peace advocacy group CodePink challenged Turkey's statement, tweeting: "They say this was a mistake. Please help us, please help us, it's enough", Bawan, one of the Kurdish protesters, told Reuters. "God willing victory will be ours".

Meanwhile, France is halting exports of any arms to Turkey that could be used in its offensive against Kurds in Syria, and wants an immediate meeting of the US-led coalition against Islamic State extremists.