09.10.2019 | Turkish army begins invasion of Syria with air strikes – Erdogan defends attacks
Source - The Daily Express
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Turkish warplanes had carried out airstrikes sparking “huge panic” among people on the ground. Witnesses reported hearing the sound of planes overhead and said smoke could be seen rising from buildings in the border town. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the military operation was now underway in a tweet.
Earlier a defence official said a small forward group of soldiers had entered Syria at two points along the border close to the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain in preparation for the full-scale offensive.
Soldiers with heavy equipment have removed concrete sections of the border and howitzers have been positioned behind earth embankments on the Turkish side of the border near the town of Akcakale.
Multiple launch rocket systems mounted on two trucks were deployed behind earth embankments near Suruc 40 miles to the west.
Artillery has also been stationed in the area and troop movements have been reported at a nearby military camp.
Turkey said its military had struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce the region, though details of the strikes were hazy.
Mr Erdogan tweeted this afternoon: "Turkish Armed Forces together with the Syrian National Army against PKK/YPG and Deash terrorist organizations in northern Syria #BarışPınarıHarekatı has started.
"Our aim is to destroy the terror corridor which is trying to be established on our southern border and to bring peace to the region."
Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest foreign ally, said it was not told in advance by Washington or Turkey about any agreements to pull US troops.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called on Turkey to show restraint and avoid military action in northern Syria. President Rouhani spoke as Iranian Army Ground Forces began unannounced military drills near the Turkish border.