Turkey announced earlier that it would conduct a military operation in northern Syria to clear the area of Kurdish fighters and establish a safe zone; the formerly US-backed defenders of the region are viewed as terrorists by Ankara.
Turkey launched a cross-border offensive targeting Kurdish fighters almost immediately after US President Donald Trump’s 9 October decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria.
The Syrian government has said Turkey’s operation amounts to aggression and constitutes a violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Syrian government has also deployed troops to northern Syria, with the army taking full control of the town of Manbij on 15 October.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order authorising sanctions against Turkish officials and entities, including the defence and energy ministries, in response to Ankara’s Operation Peace Spring in northeast Syria.
In turn, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to continue the offensive, which he says is aimed at securing the area near his country’s border and ousting the Kurdish-led SDF, which Ankara considers to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed in Turkey as a terror group.