Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to ship “hundreds of thousands” of Syrian refugees to Europe in response to criticism of his navy offensive into Kurdish-controlled northern Syria.
Talking to the Turkish parliament, Mr Erdogan stated Turkish forces had killed 109 “militants” because the operation started on Wednesday, and warned he would “open the doorways” to spark a brand new refugee disaster in Europe if the EU referred to as it an “invasion.”
“Hey EU, get up. I say it once more: if you happen to attempt to body our operation there as an invasion, our job is easy: we’ll open the doorways and ship 3.6 million migrants to you,” he stated.
The feedback got here as a Syrian human rights group stated as much as 100,000 civilians have been displaced by combating since Turkey launched its offensive with shelling and airstrikes towards Kurdish sturdy factors and cities on Wednesday afternoon.
Massive convoys of civilian automobiles had been nonetheless heading south in the direction of the cities of Hasekah and Tel Temir in a bid to flee the combating on Thursday morning.
Turkey, which says it desires to create a “secure zone” on the Syrian aspect of the border, stated it had seized all its designated goal for the primary day and that the operation continued to go as deliberate.
“Our heroic commandos participating in Operation Peace Spring are persevering with to advance east of the Euphrates (river),” the Defence Ministry wrote on Twitter. “The designated targets had been seized,” it stated in a later assertion.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces stated that they had repulsed a Turkish assault on the town of Tel Abyad and stated claims Turkey had made any advance east the the Euphrates had been false.
A spokesman for the Nationwide Military, a Turkish-backed Syrian insurgent group, stated its fighters had been shifting in the direction of each cities in help of the Turkish military, however denied SDF stories of heavy clashes close to Tel Abyad.
Witnesses stated there was shelling round Ras al Ain, also referred to as Sani Kani, the border city that seems to be a key Turkish goal for the marketing campaign.
The SDF additionally stated they’ve come underneath assault by Islamic State sleeper cell making the most of the Turkish offensive.
5 Isil fighters had been killed in a failed assault on safety forces within the village of Tweimiyeh, close to the Turkish border, on Thursday morning, the group stated.
“Daesh sleep cells this Thursday morning tried to take over al Twimiyah villages to hit safety and trigger chaos by focusing on certainly one of our navy factors,” the SDF stated in a press release.
“Quite a lot of them had been killed and the remaining had been captured.”
The reported assault got here as Kurdish authorities accused Turkey of a “clear try” to assist Isil prisoners escape by shelling a jail holding militants of greater than 60 nationalities.
Shelling on Wednesday evening focused a part of the Chirkin jail within the metropolis of Qamishli, Kurdish-led authorities stated in a press release. No Isil prisoners are identified to have escaped. rea.
On Wednesday night Donald Trump stated US forces had taken custody of a number of overseas Isis prisoners, together with infamous British fighters referred to as the “Beatles”
London-born Alexanda Kotey, 35, and El Shafee Elsheikh, a 31-year-old Briton born in Sudan, had been within the custody of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces since February 2018. They may now face trial in the US.
Syrian authorities allies Russia and Iran each referred to as for an finish to the offensive.
Britain joined different European Union nations in calling on Turkey to stop the operation on Wednesday.
On Thursday morning, Italian Overseas Minister Luigi Di Maio referred to as the offensive “unacceptable.”
In the meantime Iran, an in depth ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime, referred to as Thursday for “an instantaneous halt” to the offensive and demanded Turkish forces withdraw.
Russia, one other Syrian ally, blamed the chaos on American coverage making and referred to as for dialogue between Turkey and the Assad authorities. Bashar Assad doesn’t management the Kurdish-led autonomous area in northern Syria.
China stated Syria’s territorial integrity should be “revered” and referred to as on Turkey to “train restraint.”