Turkey’s military advanced into a region east of the River Euphrates in northeast Syria on Thursday after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the attack against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
At least 11 SDF fighters and six from the Turkish side have been killed in clashes focused on the town of Tel Abyad and surrounding villages, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It was not immediately clear if the Turkish casualties were from the military or its allied Syrian Islamist militia. An additional five SDF fighters died in a Turkish assault on the town of Ras Al-Ayn, it said.
Turkey launched the operation on Wednesday saying it would set up a safe zone stretching along its border inside Syria to rid the area of Kurdish fighters that it considers terrorists and resettle Syrian refugees. The offensive was launched after U.S. President Donald Trump gave Erdoğan the green light in a phone call on Sunday. Leaders across the globe have voiced concern about the military incursion saying it endangers civilians and threatens regional stability.
08:54 Turkish lira swings between gains and losses
Turkey’s lira swung between gains and losses on Thursday after the military, backed by loyalist fighters, entered northeast Syria to battle Kurdish militants and forge out a safe zone.
The lira rose less than 0.1 percent to 5.86 per dollar at 9:56 a.m. local time in Istanbul. It dropped 0.5 percent on Wednesday even as state-run banks sold dollars in support of the local currency.
08:01 – Turkish vice president calls on world to unite in support of Turkey
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said countries across the globe should unite in the battle against terrorism after an offensive by Turkey’s military into northeast Syria was opposed by many political leaders.
“It is our greatest expectation that the world public opinion will have the same determination in the fight against terrorist organizations,” Oktay said in comments on Twitter overnight.
07:43 – Initial clashes, bombings kill at least 22, Syrian group says
The SDF is resisting an offensive by Turkish forces in and around Tal Abyad, where at least 11 members of the SDF along with six attackers were killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday. Five fighters of the SDF were killed in a Turkish air and ground assault on Ras Al-Ayn on Wednesday, it said. Thirty-three members of the SDF were injured in the overall clashes, which included shelling and targeting by medium and heavy weapons in Ras Al-Ayn and other areas stretching from east of the Euphrates river to west of the Tigris. The SDF is hitting areas inside Turkish territory with mortars, the observatory said.
00:51- Damage to U.S. reputation will be extraordinary over cutting deal with Erdogan – Sen Rubio
The U.S. senator Marco Rubio sent a tweet message on Wednesday night slamming President Trump for letting Turkish forces begin the military operation.
At request of this administration the Kurds served as the primary ground fighters against ISIS in Syria so U.S. troops wouldn’t have to.
Then cut deal with Erdogan allowing him to wipe them out.
Damage to our reputation & national interest will be extraordinary & long lasting.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 9, 2019
22:01- The U.S. has not given Turkey a green light – Sec Pompeo
The U.S. has not given Turkey a green light to invade Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday evening, but also added that Ankara had “legitimate security concerns” and that President Donald Trump made a decision to move American soldiers out of harm’s way, Reuters reported.
Speaking to broadcaster PBS in an interview, Pompeo dismissed widespread concerns over the resurgence of Islamic State in Syria, Reuters said.
21:31- Pres Trump: Turkey should pursue operation “humanely”
At a press conference, U.S. President Trump says Kurds did not help U.S. during World War Two, but “we like the Kurds.” Trump says Turkey should pursue operation “humanely” and that if Erdoğan conducts it unfairly “he’s going to pay a very big economic price.”
Trump says he agrees on sanctions but that consequences could be even tougher on Turkey if he deems its military operation to cross the line.
21:11- U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Lindsey Graham announces sanctions bill targeting Turkey
U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Lindsey Graham agreed sanctions bill proposing extensive measures against Turkey in response to Syria operation, including sanctions on assets President Erdoğan and top cabinet ministers and CAATSA sanctions
Breaking: U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen shares sanctions bill proposing extensive measures against Turkey in response to Syria operation, including sanctions on assets of President Erdoğan and top cabinet ministers and CAATSA sanctions pic.twitter.com/PmfTza0FX7
— Ahval (@ahval_en) October 9, 2019
20:41- Turkey starts ground offensive in northeast Syria
The Defence Ministry announced that Turkey started a ground offensive as part of Operation Peace Spring in Syria targeting Kurdish forces.
The ground offensive arrives hours after Turkish warplanes and artillery began hitting territory held by Kurdish-led forces in the region.
The Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army have launched the land operation into the east of the Euphrates river as part of the Operation Peace Spring.
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) October 9, 2019
20:35 – Iran’s parliamentary speaker scraps Turkey visit
Iran’s parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani has cancelled an upcoming trip to Turkey after it launched an operation into Syria, Reuters quoted Iranian state TV as saying
“Larijani was invited by his Turkish counterpart to attend a parliamentary meeting in Turkey. His trip has been cancelled,” it quoted the station as saying.
20:25 – Saudi Arabia condemns Turkish offensive
Saudi Arabia has condemned Turkey’s operation into northeast Syria targeting Kurdish militia, Reuters quoted an official source in the Saudi foreign ministry as saying.
The kingdom is concerned over the incursion, which poses a threat to regional security and peace, the source said.
20:15 – SDF says 5 civilians killed, dozens wounded in Turkish bombing
The majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have said five civilians have been killed and dozens wounded following Turkish bombing in the border region on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Tree of its own fighter have also been killed in the attack, the SDF said.
20:00 – Military operation into Syria, Rojava trending on Turkish Twitter
Two hashtags pertaining to the Turkish incursion into northern Syria, which began on Wednesday, are trending on Turkish Twitter.
Twitter users are using the hashtags of #BarisPinarıHarekati, the name given to the incursion, and #Rojova Kazanacak, Rojava will win, in their social media posts.
19:30 – Erdoğan chairs meeting on incursion in Ankara
The Turkish president chaired a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on the military operation into northern Syria.
Turkish ministers, Chief of Staff Yaşar Güler, as well as the Turkish Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan, were present during the meeting, Yeni Şafak said.
19:15 – Istanbul mosques sound prayers in support of incursion
Mosques across Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul called out special prayers for Turkey’s operation into northern Syria, pro-government Sabah newspaper reported.
Called on an order, the prayer preceded the daily night prayers, Sabah said.
19:00 – Erdoğan advisor tells CNN Turkish, U.S. presidents in agreement on details of incursion
Senior advisor to the Turkish President, Gülnur Aybet, tells CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that President Trump and President Erdogan have reached an understanding over the details of the Turkish incursion.
The White House says that it “has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.”
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) October 9, 2019
18:45 – Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition HDP calls for united stance against occupation
The opposition pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has called on the country to unite against the “occupation’’ of northern Syria, stressing that Turkey needs peace at home instead of cross-border operations.
“We are calling on the people of Turkey to say no to war,’’ pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency quoted HDP officials as saying.
18:30 – U.N. Security Council to meet over Turkish incursion on Thursday
The U.N. Security Council is set to meet behind closed doors on Thursday to address the Turkish incursion in northeast Syria, the New York Post reported.
The meeting follows a request the five European members, Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland, it said citing diplomats .
France, Britain and Germany “are finalizing a joint statement that will be extremely clear on the fact that we condemn very strongly and firmly what has been reported,” it said, quoting French European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin.
18:30 – Border regions of Şanlıurfa province under special security
Parts of Turkey’s southeastern Şanlıurfa province which border with Syria have been declared special security regions by the governor’s office, Yeni Şafak newspaper reported.
18:10 – White House says Turkey operation a ‘bad idea’
President Donald Trump says the United States “does not endorse’’ Turkey’s assault on Syria, calling the operation “a bad idea,’’ AP reported.
The U.S. President, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said that Turkey had committed to “protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place,”
“Turkey is now responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form. We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.” Trump said.
White House issues statement on Turkish invasion into Syria pic.twitter.com/sC7Umv7AW1
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 9, 2019