Turkey begins offensive in Syria with air strikes

Turkish fighter jets on Wednesday bombed parts of north-eastern Syria at the start of an offensive which may kickstart a conflict between Ankara and Kurdish-led allies of the US. According to Reuters, several explosions were reported in the border town of Ras al-Ain and some blasts were also heard in Tal Abyad.

Justifying the attack, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation has been launched to create a “safe zone” cleared of Kurdish militias. Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), however, said that Turkish planes have dropped bombs on civilian areas, reported BBC.

Turkey decided to launch the airstrikes just days after US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw US troops from northern Syria.

It is to be noted that the Kurds are an important ally of the US in defeating Islamic State (IS) in Syria and they are still guarding several IS fighters who are currently behind bars in areas under their control.

Erdogan posted a tweet saying that the mission “was to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area” and that it would “preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.”

Meanwhile, UK and France are planning to call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has urged Turkey to stop the airstrikes.