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Syrian Border Town Captured by Turkish Forces

10-12-2019
The Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
The Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A key Syrian border town was captured by Turkish forces on Saturday.

Turkey's assault against Syrian Kurdish fighters continues into its fourth day with little sign of stopping.

According to Turkey's Defense Ministry, Turkish troops entered central Ras al-Ayn, gaining more ground since invasions began on Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting continues as Kurdish fighters try to overturn the Turkish. troops moving forward into Ras al-Ayn.

Turkish forces advancing further into northern Syria comes days after President Trump made way for Turkey's air and ground strike. 

The president recently announced he was pulling US troops out of Syria - leaving US allies like the Kurds and Syrian Christians without protection. 

The Turkish military and the Observatory said that Turkish troops tried to gain control of main highways in northeastern Syria.

Anadolu news agency in Turkey said that Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces took control of the M-4 highway connecting the towns of Manbij and Qamishli.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Turkish troops and their Syrian allies arrived at the highway but were forced back.

Also, Turkish troops cut the route linking the northeastern city of Hassakeh with Aleppo, Syria's largest city and once commercial center.

Turkey said it plans to push back the People's Protection Unit (YPG), which it considers terrorists for its ties to a decades-long Kurdish rebellion within its own borders. 

The YPG is the Kurdish National Army in Syria and has been strong allies of the US in its fight against ISIS. They are not known as or listed as a terrorist organization – except maybe to Turkey.

It is estimated that 100,000 people are displaced in the region. There are also tens of thousands of fighters with families held in camps and detention centers.

The Turkish military intends to clear out the Syrian border towns of Kurdish fighters claiming they are a national security threat.

The civilian death toll is 18 in Turkey and 74 Kurdish-led SDF fighters have been killed, according to Anadolu news agency.

The Observatory reports 49 Syrian opposition fighters backed by Turkey have been killed, including 21 civilians on the Syrian side.

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