At least ten people have been killed after a convoy of journalists, aid workers and civilians was shelled by Turkish forces today.
The convoy guarded by armed men was hit when it arrived in Ras al-Ain (Sari Kani), a border town that advancing Turkish-allied forces have seized.
A neighbourhood on the edge of the town remains in the hands of Kurdish-led fighters.
A spokesman for the Kurdish forces, said 11 were killed and 74 injured but it was not clear how many were civilians.
The strikes have led French President Emmanuel Macron to warn that Turkey’s offensive risks creating an ‘unsustainable humanitarian situation’ in the region.
Images of the attack showed the airstrike shatter an otherwise quiet street and footage shows bodies and severed limbs strewn in the street
Casualties pour into Syrian hospitals as the Turkish border offensive continues with as many as 74 injured in today’s convoy strike
Journalists, including foreigners, were accompanying the convoy. A Kurdish news agency, Hawar, said one of its reporters was killed
Smoke billows from fires on targets in Ras al-Ain, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces today which saw a convoy hit, killing at least ten
The convoy guarded by armed men was hit when it arrived in Ras al-Ain (Sari Kani) a border town that advancing Turkish-allied forces have seized
A Turkish soldier surveys Ras al-Ain, a border town that advancing Turkish-allied forces have seized
The Observatory said journalists, including foreigners, were accompanying the convoy. A Kurdish news agency, Hawar, said one of its reporters was killed.
Images of the attack showed the airstrike shatter an otherwise quiet street and footage shows bodies and severed limbs strewn in the street.
Some of those killed appeared to be carrying guns. Activists said the gunmen were guarding the convoy.
France 2 journalist Stephenie Perez said she was on the convoy when it was struck. She said her team was fine but some colleagues had died.
The Syrian-based North Press Agency said journalist Delsoz Jousef was severely injured in the strike.
The Observatory said journalists, including foreigners, were accompanying the convoy. A Kurdish news agency, Hawar, said one of its reporters was killed
Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa
In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border with Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, smoke billows from fires on targets in Ras al-Ayn
The convoy strike came hours after reports that Turkish-backed proxies executed nine civilians including a female politician.
Kurdish political leader Hevrin Khalaf and her driver were among those killed after they were shot by the side of the road after being dragged from their vehicle.
Footage circulating online shows the attackers shouting insults as they fire their weapons. The UN said the footage is genuine, according to The Guardian.
The Syrian Observatory said the nine executions happened at different moments south of the town of Tel Abyad.
In a separate incident today, 800 women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled a camp where they were being held in northern Syria after shelling by Turkish forces.
The region’s Kurdish-led administration said in a statement that 785 IS-affiliated foreigners had fled the camp at Ain Issa.
In apparent reference to Turkish-backed rebels, the Kurdish-led administration said ‘mercenaries’ attacked the camp where ‘Daesh elements’ – a reference to Islamic State – in turn attacked camp guards and opened the gates.
Images shared by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights appear to picture people running away from the Ain Issa.
It is believed the ISIS ‘matchmaker’ Tooba Gondal, 25, from Walthamstow, north London, was in the camp with her two children after she was caught trying to get to Turkey following the fall of Baghuz.
Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, as seen from the Turkish border town of Akcakale today, as military action continues
More than 130,000 people have been displaced from rural areas around the northeast Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad (pictured today) and Ras al Ain as a result of fighting between Turkish-led forces and Kurdish militia
A Turkish-backed Syrian fighter fires a heavy machine gun in the border Syrian town of Tal Abyad on Sunday during further clashes
A Turkish military truck carries tanks on the way to Northern Syria for the military operation in Kurdish areas in Akcakale district, Turkey
Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters sit in a military tank in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border, on Sunday
Smoke rises above the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad, as seen from Akcakale in Turkey after the NATO nation advanced further into Syria
A man waves a Syrian opposition flag reading ‘Free Syria’ on Sunday in Akcakale, Turkey, as smoke rises in the background
Turkish army vehicles and military personnel are stationed near the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, today
In an apparent reference to Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, the administration said in a statement ‘mercenaries’ had attacked the camp where ‘Daesh elements’ – a reference to Islamic State – in turn attacked camp guards and opened the gates. Pictured: Inside the camp
It is believed the ISIS ‘matchmaker’ Tooba Gondal (pictured), 25, from Walthamstow, who reportedly lured Shamima Begum to Syria, was in the camp with her two children after she was caught trying to get to Turkey following the fall of Baghuz
Pictures taken by British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights show the inside of the camp as Turkish-backed forces approached
Syrian rebel fighters ride on a truck mounted with a weapon in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border, on Sunday
A picture taken today from Turkish territory shows smoke rising from targets inside Syria during a bombardment by Turkish forces at Ras al-Ein, seen from Ceylanpinar, in Sanliurfa, Turkey
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor confirmed ‘around 100’ foreign women and children from families of IS members escaped the camp (file photo of a volunteer caretaker inside the camp), without specifying their nationalities
Smoke billows above the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad today as Turkish-backed forces push their offensive against Kurdish forces to take territory along the border
A Turkish-backed Syrian fighter fires during clashes in the town of Ras al-Ain on Sunday as Turkey and its allies continue their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria
Turkey’s cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara’s Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the US unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
France said today it was ‘worried’ to hear of the report that hundreds of relatives of foreign jihadists had escaped.
Trump sends $50million in emergency financial aid to Syria
President Trump says he will send $50million in emergency financial aid for Syria as Turkey continues its attacks on Kurdish territory just one week after the president pulled US troops from the area.
The money will be sent to assist human rights groups and other organizations to ‘protect persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and advance human rights,’ according to a statement released Saturday night by the Office of the Press Secretary.
On Sunday, President Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops from Northern Syria, leaving the America’s Kurdish allies to a Turkish invasion, calling it ‘very smart’ for the US to ‘not be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change.’
‘Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight.They have no idea what a bad decision they have made.
‘Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?’ he added.
Trump spoke of the $50million in aid while at the Values Voters Summit’s Faith, family and Freedom gala dinner Saturday night.
‘Other presidents would not be doing that, they’d be spending a lot more money but on things that wouldn’t make you happy,’ he said.
‘The U.S. condemns the persecution of Christians and we pledge our support to Christians all over.’
‘Of course we are worried about what could happen and that is why we want Turkey… to end as quickly as possible the intervention it has begun,’ government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye told France 3 television.
This was echoed by Germany as Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone to stop his country’s military offensive.
A statement by the Chancellery said regardless of ‘legitimate Turkish security interests,’ the military operation threatens to displace major parts of the local population.
Germany says the offensive also threatens to destabilise the region and restrengthen the extremist Islamic State group.
It came as Vladimir Putin said all foreign troops should leave Syria unless the Syrian government asks them to stay.
The Russian president said in an interview with three Arabic television stations that was released Sunday that ‘all foreign nations’ should withdraw their troops unless they have been asked by the Syrian government to stay there.
He said Russia, which has a significant military presence there as well as an air and a naval bases, would also leave if President Bashar Assad asks it to.
Putin, a staunch backer of Assad, stopped short of condemning Turkey for sending its troops across the border into northeastern Syria earlier this week, but said that other nations should respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
And the US appeared to oblige as it is now poised to evacuate about 1,000 US troops from northern Syria, Defence Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview today.
‘In the last 24 hours, we learned that [the Turks] likely intend to extend their attack further south than originally planned, and to the west,’ Esper said in a pre-taped interview with CBS.
‘We also have learned in the last 24 hours that the … SDF are looking to cut a deal, if you will, with the Syrians and the Russians to counterattack against the Turks in the north.’
Esper called the situation ‘untenable’ for US forces, saying he spoke with Trump last night, and that the president directed the U.S. military to ‘begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria.’
Ankara launched the assault against the Kurdish YPG militia after Trump’s first withdrawal of some US troops from the border region last week.
It says the YPG is a terrorist group aligned with Kurdish militants waging an insurgency in Turkey.
Turkey’s stated objective is to set up a ‘safe zone’ inside Syria to resettle many of the 3.6 million Syrian war refugees it has been hosting. President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to send them to Europe if the EU does not back his assault.
But the Turkish incursion has raised international alarm over large-scale displacements of civilians and, amidst the upheaval, the possibility of Islamic State militants escaping from prisons run by the Kurdish-led authorities.
Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew some troops from the border region. Pictured: Map shows Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain (Sari Kani) near Raqqa
Turkish forces have targeted the two Syrian border towns (pictured, a Ras-al-Ein today) with fresh shelling today, pressing on with their offensive against Kurdish militia for a fifth day in the face of fierce international opposition
A photo taken from Turkey’s Sanliurfa shows a flag of Syrian National Army being hung at the customs gate, located at Turkish border of the Tal Abyad town
Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters sit together in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border, on Sunday
Turkish-backed rebels are pictured on Ain Issa Road on and tank and raising a gun in the air as they continue with Operation Peace Spring
The shelling of the camp at Ain Issa north of Raqqa represented ‘support for the revival of the Daesh organisation once again’, the Kurdish-led administration for northern and eastern Syria said, referring to Islamic State militants. Pictured: A house in Akcakale, Turkey, damaged by mortar fire from Syria today
An elderly man is evacuated from a building in Akcakale, a town near the Turkish border with Syria today after it was hit by a rocket reported to be fired from within Syria
Ankara launched the cross-border assault against the YPG militia after US President Donald Trump withdrew some troops from the border region. Pictured: An elderly woman is evacuated from a building in Akcakale
The Kurdish-led forces have been the main regional ally of the United States against Islamic State in Syria.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hold swathes of territory that was once part of Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’.
The SDF has been keeping thousands of IS jihadists in jail and tens of thousands of their family members in camps.
SDF official Marvan Qamishlo said there were not have enough guards for the camp, which is north of Raqqa and about 20 miles south of the Turkish border.
‘The guarding is very weak now,’ he said, adding there were now just 60-70 security personnel at the camp compared with a normal level of no less than 700 in the camp of 12,000 people.
Along the front lines, Turkish forces and Syrian rebels entered Suluk, some 6 miles from Turkey’s border, the Observatory said on Sunday.
Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency said the rebels seized complete control of Suluk. But the SDF’s Qamishlo said SDF forces had repelled the attack and were still in control.
Turkish-backed Syrian rebels (pictured today) advanced into Ras al Ain on Saturday. Turkey has said it took control of the town centre, while Kurdish-led forces denied that and said they were counter-attacking
Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters walking together in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border, as the operation advances
Syrian fighters sit on top of an armoured personnel carrier in the southwestern neighbourhoods of the border Syrian town of Tal Abyad today
A Syrian fighter with the Turkey-backed forces watches an armoured personnel carrier manoeuvring on the outskirts of the border Syrian town of Tal Abyad today
Smoke rises from an explosion during an offensive by Turkish-led forces in Tel Abyad, Syria, shown in a picture released on Sunday
Suluk is southeast of the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad, one of the two main targets in the incursion, which was bombarded by Turkish howitzers on Sunday afternoon, a witness in the neighbouring Turkish town of Akcakale said.
Machinegun fire resounded around the Syrian frontier town of Ras al Ain, 75 miles to the east of Tel Abyad, while Turkish artillery continued to target the area, a Reuters reporter across the border in Turkey’s Ceylanpinar said.
Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, known as the National Army, advanced into Ras al Ain on Saturday but by Sunday there were still conflicting reports on which side was prevailing in the town.
Hundreds of demonstrators including Kurdish citizens march through central London towards Westminster in protest against Turkey’s military offensive in Syria
Hundreds of protesters with placards showing Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and slogans reading ‘Murderer Turkish State’ and making their way through central London towards Westminster.
Demonstrations began at the BBC’s Broadcasting House at around 12.30pm against the continued Turkish military presence in Rojava, in northern Syria.
The crowd, which included Kurdish citizens, then marched down Regent Street, chanting ‘down with fascism’ and setting off red smoke.
Demonstrations began at the BBC’s Broadcasting House at around 12.30pm against the continued Turkish military presence in Rojava, in northern Syria. Pictured on Regent Street
Niaz Maarof, 41, a driver from London, was part of the march and said the Kurdish community was opposed to the Turkish military presence in northern Syria.
‘This is a demonstration showing against Erdogan and Turkey attacking the Kurdish in Rojava after almost 10 years that we have been fighting against ISIS.
‘They liberated the area, they are running a democratic government and now Turkey, with the green light from America, is attacking the area. So, as Kurds, we are not happy about it.
Mr Maarof from South Kurdistan said he agreed with Boris Johnson, who this week urged President Erdogan to end the military assault but that more action was needed from the British Government.
‘The world does owe the Kurdish now for what they did in Syria. If you really mean it, the British should stop selling Turkey weapons, because last year Theresa May gave them planes and now they are using them against us.
‘The whole world is watching and no-one is saying anything.
‘We, the Kurdish, are upset, not only with Turkey but with most of the world, because we are not being helped.’
Protesters chanted ‘wake up UK, Turkish state is Isis’ and set off coloured smoke as the march made its way through central London towards Parliament Square.
The Syrian Observatory said the SDF, in which the YPG comprises the main fighting element, had recovered ‘almost full control’ of Ras al Ain after a counter-attack.
A spokesman for the National Army denied this, saying its forces were still in the positions they took on Saturday.
More than 130,000 people have been displaced from rural areas around Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain as a result of the fighting, the United Nations said on Sunday.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said OCHA and other relief agencies estimated up to 400,000 civilians in the Syrian conflict zone may require aid and protection in the coming period.
Turkish-backed Syrian fighters take position on top of a building in the southwestern neighbourhoods of the border town of Tal Abyad today
Turkey’s stated objective is to set up a ‘safe zone’ inside Syria (pictured, a Turkish police vehicle on patrol near the border) to resettle many of the 3.6million Syrian war refugees it has been hosting. Erdogan has threatened to send them to Europe if the EU does not back his assault
Erdogan has dismissed the growing international condemnation of the military operation, saying Turkey ‘will not stop it, no matter what anyone says’.
In the latest criticism, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Erdogan the offensive may worsen the humanitarian situation and undermine progress towards weakening Islamic State, urging an end to the operation.
Turkey’s Defence Ministry said on Sunday 480 YPG militants had been ‘neutralised’ since the operation began, a term that commonly means killed. The SDF said 76 of its fighters have been killed.
The Observatory said 104 SDF fighters, 76 Turkey-backed rebels and 52 civilians had been killed in the conflict.
In Turkey, 18 civilians have been killed in cross-border bombardment, Turkish media and officials say.
People watch from Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, as smoke billows from fires on targets in Tel Abyad, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces today
The SDF on Saturday urged the U.S.-led coalition to close air space to Turkish jets, saying SDF fighters were ‘being martyred by Turkish warplanes in front of the eyes of the allies’.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for a car bomb on Friday in Qamishli, the largest city in the Kurdish-held area, where some IS militants fled from a jail.
On Saturday Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops in the Syrian border region, telling conservative Christian activists that the United States should prioritise protecting its own borders.
‘Let them have their borders, but I don’t think our soldiers should be there for the next 50 years guarding a border between Turkey and Syria when we can’t guard our own borders at home,’ Trump said in a speech in Washington.
The SDF accused Turkey-backed rebels of killing a Kurdish politician in a road ambush on Saturday. The rebel force denied it, saying it had not advanced that far.
The Syrian Observatory said Turkey-backed groups had killed nine civilians on the road, including Hervin Khalaf, co-chair of the secular Future Syria Party.
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