Turkey ground forces cross into Syria in 'Operation Peace Spring'


The airstrikes hit the elements in Ras al-Ain as well as towns in the rural areas of Derik and Qamasli districts.

There are fears that Turkey's military offensive could lead to a resurgence of ISIS and American officials have expressed concern that thousands of ISIS fighters may escape from prisons in Syria.

Turkey attacked Kurdish militia positions in northeast Syria on Wednesday, pounding them with air strikes and artillery barrages in a cross-border military operation just days after USA troops pulled back from the area.

Asked to comment on statements from European leaders criticizing Turkey's incursion and suggestions that the EU would not fund Turkey's plans for a safe zone, Cavusoglu said: "In this case we'd better let them, EU countries, take those refugees".

He said he had summoned Turkey's ambassador to condemn the attack.

The UN Security Council will also meet in private today, at the request of 5 European countries - Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland.

The 22-member Arab League also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Saturday.

The U.S. -backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of the Syrian territories, including the most of the 911-kilometer-long Syria-Turkey border.

Russia, the main global backer of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, said it planned to push for dialogue between the Syrian and Turkish governments following the incursion.

Lavrov alleged that Turkey had not been able to properly raise its "legitimate concerns about the safety of its borders" with Damascus because of "the actions of the Americans and the coalition" east of the Euphrates River.

"As already announced, the Islamic Republic of Iran considers the current situation in the region to be a result of extra-regional interference, particularly from the United States", the ministry added. "But they were there to help us with their land, and that's a different thing", Trump said.

"Currently, there are 1.65 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this area, including more than 650,000 displaced by war".

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican who usually backs Trump, has been one of the most outspoken critics of the president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria.

The bill would likely freeze USA assets of the top Turkish politicians and impose visa restrictions on officials. It would further seek to block the global sale of military equipment to Ankara, including USA ammunition sales, Reuters reported.

Their proposed sanctions would target the assets of senior officials including Erdogan, mandate sanctions over Turkey's purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system and impose visa restrictions.

The Syrian government, as well as its close allies Iran and Russian Federation, are happy about the US' decision to withdraw from the north, but have expressed concern about the violation of Syria's sovereignty by Turkey.

On Thursday, Turkish police began criminal investigations of several Kurdish lawmakers and detained scores of people in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, accusing them of criticising the military's incursion into Syria, state media reported.