Oct 12 2019

Day 4: Turkish forces announce seizure of Ras al Ayn, turn to Tel Abyad

* All times local (GMT +3)

The United Nations say some 100,000 people have been displaced since Turkey launched its offensive in northeast Syria on Wednesday against Kurdish militants.

The Turkish military and allied fighters have “neutralised” -killed or captured-  415 members of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its main fighting force, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), since the start of the ground and air incursion, Turkey’s defence ministry said on Saturday. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday vowed to go on with the plans to establish a safe zone stretching along its border inside Syria to remove the SDF, which Turkey sees as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). 

The offensive began after U.S. President Donald Trump gave Erdoğan permission in a phone call on Sunday, promising to withdraw American troops in the planned safe zone area. The Pentagon said on Friday that American troops in northeast Syria came under artillery fire from Turkish positions, while Turkey denied deliberately targeting U.S. forces.

Turkey has been facing escalating pressure from the United States to halt its military operation against the SDF, the key U.S. ally in the battle against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. U.S. lawmakers introduced a draft bill on Friday that would see tough sanctions imposed on Turkey, while Trump authorised officials to devise “very significant” new sanctions, which will be activated if necessary.


01.10 - U.S. forces say Turkey deliberately launched artillery rounds near American troops in Syria
According to Washington Post reporting

Turkish forces who launched multiple artillery rounds near a U.S. Special Operations outpost in northeastern Syria on Friday have known for months that Americans were there, according to four current and former U.S. officials, raising questions whether Turkey is trying to push American troops farther from the border.

Washington Post's Dan Lamothe reports that the first reported by Newsweek, the situation was more serious than characterized Friday, several officials told WP.

“That’s an area weapon,” the officer said, noting its explosive effects. “That’s not something we ever would have done to a partner force.” WP said.


00:20 -  UEFA to launch investigation over Turkish national team’s military salute

UEFA Communications Director Philip Townsend has said the organisation is set to launch an investigation after the Turkish national soccer team struck a military salute during a game against Albania, pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper reported.

Members of the national squad celebrated a goal against Albania on Saturday with a military salute, in an apparent show of support for Turkish troops taking part in an operation in northeast Syria.


00:10 - Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Qatar, Kazakhstan support Turkey’s Syria incursion

A total of four countries - Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Qatar, Kazakhstan- have come out in support of Turkey’s military operation into northeast Syria targeting Kurdish forces, Turkish military news site TSK Map reported.


23:40 - British PM urges Turkey to end incursion in phone call with Erdoğan

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Britain had “grave concerns” about Turkey’s military action in northeast Syria, urging the president to end the conflict and enter into dialogue.

“He expressed the UK’s grave concern about Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria which he said could further worsen the humanitarian situation there and undermine the progress made against Daesh,” Reuters quoted a spokesman as saying following a telephone call between the two leaders on Saturday evening.


23:05 - U.S. Military officials deeply concerned for ethnic cleansing and return of ISIS

Unnamed military officials are deeply concerned that Turkish operation in NE Syria might open the door both ethnic cleansing of Kurds and return of ISIS & Al-Qaida, MSNBC reporter Richard Engel reports.


22:25 - France suspends weapons sales to Turkey

France has suspended all weapon sales to Turkey, warning that Turkey's offensive in northern Syria threatened European security.

“In expectation of the end of this offensive, France has decided to suspend all plans to export to Turkey weapons that could be used in this offensive. This decision is with immediate effect,” Al-Arabiya quoted a joint statement from the foreign and defence ministries as saying.


22:00 - Turkish forces urge locals to stay away from YPG posts 

The Turkish military and allied Syrian opposition forces have handed out pamphlets in Arabic and Kurdish around Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, urging locals to stay away from the YPG centres and posts, pro-government Sabah newspaper reported.

The brochures arrive amid reports of the TSK pushing into Tel Abyad on day four of the incursion into northeast Syria.


20:50 - Environment ministry says 700,000 Syrians to be settled in villages in safe zone

The Turkish Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Murat Kurum said that roughly 700,000 Syrians would be settled into villages and another 300,000 in cities in the safe zone to be established in northern Syria, independent news site Diken reported.

“There will be  around 140 villages with populations of 5,000 people. Each city will host 30,000 people for a total of 300,000 people in 10 cities,’’ Kurum said.

The minister said that it was working on a settlement project that would compliment the structure and nature of the region.


19:50 - Turkish foreign minister rejects U.S. offer for mediation

Turkey would not have started the incursion into northeast Syria if it feared sanctions and will not accept an offer by Washington to mediate between Ankara and Kurdish YPG forces, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told Deutsche Welle Turkish.

"We don't mediate, negotiate with terrorists. The only thing to be done is for these terrorists to lay down arms," the Turkish foreign minister told Deutsche Welle.

U.S. President Donald Trump has offered for the United States to mediate between Turkey and Kurdish militia to halt Turkey's incursion in Syria, which the commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has said they are open to.

Çavuşoğlu said that the problem in Syria could only be solved by all parties keeping their promises.

“We are fighting with a terrorist organisation. Our ally should not stand with a terrorist organisation”, Çavuşoğlu said, referring to the United States.

The United States has threatened Turkey with sanctions over the ongoing north Syria offensive targeting Kurdish militia.


19:45 - Nine civilians ‘executed’ by pro-Turkey rebels in Syria

Pro-Turkey rebels have "executed’’ nine civilians in Syria, where Turkey is heading a military operation targeting Kurdish militia, AFP reported citing a monitor.

The nine civilians executed in the south of the town of Tal Abyad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Some Kurdish sources said one of those killed was the co-chair of the Syrian Future Party, Hevrin Khalaf.


19:30 - Thousands rally in Paris against Turkish incursion

Thousands demonstrated in Paris against the Turkish operation in northeast Syria, Al Jazeera reported. 

Demonstrators from various activist groups criticised U.S. President Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria while slamming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it said.


19:15 - Turkish defence ministry announces 459 terrorists “neutralised” in northern Syria

The Turkish Defence ministry said that a total of 459 Kurdish militia had been  “neutralised’’ since the Turkish incursion in northeast Syria began on Wednesday.

 The Turkish military uses the term “neutralised” to refer to those killed or captured.

 Turkey is looking to clear the region of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).


19:00 - Turkish forces to push into Tel Abyad

Turkish military has completed preparations to push into the town of Tel Abyad , pro-government A Haber reported from Turkey’s southeastern town of Akçakale.

The operation will be launched in a short, it said.


18:55 - Turkish presidency hits back at Arab League over statement

The Turkish Presidency has blasted the Arab League over a statement earlier on Saturday condemning the Turkish incursion into northeast Syria.

"We know very well that those who are disturbed by Turkey’s defending of Palestinian rights do not represent the Arab world,’’ Yeni Şafak quoted presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun as saying.

Following an emergency meeting on Saturday, the Arab League condemned Turkey’s incursion in Syria, saying it was considering financial and diplomatic measures against Ankara.


18:45 - Foreign minister says Turkey not scared of isolation

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey is not scared of isolation as Turkish forces push through on their fourth day of an incursion into northeast Syria.

“Why should Turkey be afraid of isolation? We are protecting (our country) against terror. Terror is our common enemy,” left-wing news site Duvar quoted Çavuşoğlu said at a conference in Ankara.

Turkey has received international condemnation over its ongoing offensive in Syria.


18:30 - Co-head of Syrian Future Party killed in reported 'ambush' by Turkish-backed group

The co-chair of the Syrian Future Party Havrin Khalaf was killed on Saturday in northeast Syria, pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper reported.

A key figure in the liberal Syrian Kurdish political party, Khalaf was killed en route to Qamishli from Rakka, the newspaper said citing local sources.

The Future Party in a statement later on Saturday said Khalaf was killed when a Turkish-backed group ambushed her on the road, pro-Kurdish Kurdistan24 website reported.

“With utmost grievance and sadness, the Syria Future Party mourns the martyrdom of engineer Havrin Khalaf, the General Secretary of Syria Future Party, while she was performing her patriotic and political duties,” the Future Party said in a statement.


18:21 - Bulgarian PM urges EU to abandon aggressive stance against Turkey

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has called on Brussels to abandon its “aggressive stance’’ against Turkey, urging the EU to take a positive and diplomatic approach with the country, Hürriyet newspaper reported.

Borissov said Turkey had been burdened with millions of refugees and the only way in preventing a new wave of migrants to Europe was through diplomatic means.

Turkey has threatened Europe with opening the gates to some 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in the country.


18:10 - SDF says Turkish incursion revives ISIS, urges no-fly zone

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has said Turkey’s incursion in northeast Syria has revived the Islamic State (ISIS), calling on allied states that helped fight the extremist group to close off air space to Turkish war planes.

The SDF is continuing to cooperate with the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS despite confronting the Turkish attack on northern Syria, Reuters quoted senior SDF official Redur Xelil as saying.


17:50 - Dozens of British lawmakers urge government to act to end Turkish incursion in northeast Syria

A total of 70 bipartisan British lawmakers penned a joint letter addressed to Foreign Minister Dominic Raab asking the government to intervene and to take steps to end Turkey’s military campaign against Kurdish-held territories in northern Syria.

“We are writing on behalf of our constituents and the Kurdish community who have contacted our offices about the Turkish invasion in Northern Syria,” the lawmakers that signed the letter said. “It is a sad day to see our Kurdish allies being assaulted by the Turkish military on the orders of President Erdoğan. We believe the United States has made the wrong decision to withdraw military support from Northern Syria,” they said.

“We urge you to intervene and to outline the steps being taken by the UK government to halt this assault, and what diplomatic measures are being taken with both the United States and Turkey to reverse their current policies which are causing the destabilisation of the region,” the British lawmakers said.


17:35 - Syrian Kurds accept U.S. offer to mediate reconciliation with Turkey - SDF commander

The commander-in-chief of the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazlum Kobane, told French Le Figaro newspaper that Kurdish forces in northern Syria were open to a U.S. proposal offering to act a mediator between the Kurdish group and Turkey, BBC Turkish reported.

“If the war does not end, we will think we have been betrayed by the United States,” Kobane said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops in northern Syria to pave the way for a Turkish offensive against the SDF.

“For now, we are just disappointed. The credibility of Americans in our eyes has been damaged,” he said.

“We accept the Americans offer to act as a mediator between us and Turkey. We demand from the Americans to ensure an end to the war waged by Turkey,” he said.


17:20 - Turkish authorities arrest Al Arabiya reporter covering Turkey’s offensive

Turkish authorities arrested on Saturday an Al Arabiya correspondent Zidan Zanklo for covering Turkey’s offensive in northeastern Syria, Al Arabiya reported on Saturday.

Zanklo was picked up in an armoured vehicle by Turkish authorities in an area on the Syrian-Turkish border, Al Arabiya said without mentioning the exact location of the incident.

Zanklo, who is Syrian, was told he has until Monday to leave to Istanbul,Al Arabiya said. His visa was also cancelled, and his work permit has been confiscated.


17:10 - Turkey reiterates it will assume the responsibility of families of ISIS detainees in Syria

Turkey will assume the oversight of the families of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters being kept in camps in northeast Syria, where Turkey has launched a military offensive on Wednesday, said Hami Aksoy, the spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

“We are ready to work for the rehabilitation of the ISIS-linked foreign terrorists’ spouses and children who had not been engaged in any criminal activity with countries they hold citizenship and international organisations,” he said.


16:40 Germany bans exports of arms to Turkey - Bild Am Sonntag

Germany has banned arms exports to Turkey as a reaction to the country’s assault against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, Reuters reported citing a quote by German foreign minister in German newspaper Bild Am Sonntag.

“Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive in north-eastern Syria, the Federal Government will not issue any new permits for all military equipment that could be used by Turkey in Syria”, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the paper.

Germany exported arms worth 243 million euros ($268 million) to Turkey in 2018, accounting for almost on- third of all German weapons exports, the German paper said.


15:45 - Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP establishes crisis centres in border provinces

The predominantly-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) announces that it had established crisis coordination centres in Turkey’s southeastern provinces of Şanlıurfa and Mardin.

“The established centres are tasked with developing measures for residential areas evacuated in border regions and casualties that have been occurring as a result of attacks and to create networks of solidarity,” HDP said in a statement.


15:30 - Around 100 French politicians, intellectuals denounce Turkish incursion with joint declaration

Around 100 French politicians and opinion leaders penned a joint declaration published in Libération newspaper on Saturday, condemning Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria. The group called on the international community not to abandon Kurds.

“The abandonment of the Kurds and the Syrian democratic forces would mark the end of the chances of peace in Syria,” the declaration said. The group said Turkish offensive would provoke the possibility of an Islamic State (ISIS) resurgence and cause mass displacements.


15:15 - Turkish incursion is an invasion of an Arab state’s land - Arab League secretary general

Turkey’s military operation in northeast Syria is a violation of the country’s territorial integrity, the Arab League’s secretary general said on Saturday.

Ankara’s actions constitute an “invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty,” RT quoted Ahmed Aboul Gheit as saying.

Foreign ministers of the 22 members of the league held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss Turkish offensive on Syrian territory.

Aboul Gheit said during the meeting in Cairo, that the Arab League was considering taking diplomatic, economic, investment and tourism measures against Turkey.


15:10 - Saudi Arabia, UAE calls on Turkey to halt offensive in northern Syria

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al Jubair said on Saturday that the kingdom condemned the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria, adding that the kingdom demanded an immediate halt to the military operations.

The Turkish attack is causing the Syrian people to suffer further, Al Arabiya quoted the minister as saying.

Anwar Gargash, foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, also condemned the Turkish offensive and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to stop the Turkish attacks on Syria.


15:00 - Syrian Kurdish delegation to meet Egyptian foreign minister

A high-level delegation of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), will meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Saturday, pro-Kurdish ANHA reported.

The delegation, including SDF executive committee co-chair, Ilham Ahmed, will meet the Egyptian minister before the start of the emergency meeting of the Arab League Council.


14:50 - More than 100,000 people from Ras al Ayn, Tel Abyad have been displaced- UN agency

More than 100,000 people from the northern Syrian towns of Ras al Ayn and Tal Abyad, two key towns targeted by Turkish offensive, have been displaced so far, Reutes said on Saturday citing the United Nations World Food Programme.

The World Food Programme and its partners will continue supporting people in northeast Syria despite a deterioration in the security situation, it said. About 580,000 of the people the programme feeds in the region are currently living in Kurdish-controlled areas.


14:30 - Nearly 300 mortar shells have been fired into Turkey’s Mardin province - interior minister
Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Saturday that nearly 300 mortar shells had been fired from Syria into Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin, pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak reported.
“We are against a terrorist organisation. The shelling comes from Qamishli,” Soylu said referring to Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
Eight people were killed and 35 people were wounded by shelling from Syria on Friday in Mardin’s Nusaybin district.


14:10 Kurdish forces deny Turkey taking control of Syrian border town

Kurdish forces in northeast Syria denied the Turkish defence ministry’s statement early Saturday that Turkish-backed Syrian rebels had seized Ras al Ayn, one of the focal points of the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, Agence France-Press reported.

“Ras al Ayn is still resisting, and clashes continue,” an official of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told AFP.

The official said Kurdish fighters had temporarily pulled back from the town before launching a counter-offensive against Turkish forces.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels have entered the town but have yet to capture it, an AFP correspondent in the area said.

 


13:45 Turkish bombardment kills 10 Syrian civilians - monitor

At least seven people have been killed by Turkish air strikes and shelling around the border towns of Ras al Ayn and Tel Abyad, while three others were killed by artillery fire on the mainly Kurdish city of Qamishli further east, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The civilian death toll from the Turkish offensive that started on Wednesday has reached 28, it said.


13:45 Coalition forces start air patrolling Turkish border near Kobani

Two helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of the U.S.-led coalition forces have started patrolling the Turkish border between Kobani in Syria and Suruç in Turkey after Turkish artillery fire came close to hitting a U.S. outpost in northern Syria late Friday, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported.


13:45 Syrian Democratic Forces say they regained control of international highway

Kurdish forces in northern Syria regained control of an international highway that had been seized by the Turkish military, Kurdish ANHA news agency reported citing a statement of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ media centre.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported early Saturday that the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (former Free Syrian Army) had arrived at the M-4 highway, a road that connects the Syrian towns of Manbij and Qamishli.


13:30 Syria must be freed from foreign military presence, Putin says

The territorial integrity of Syria must be fully restored and all foreign forces should withdraw, including Russia if Damascus decides it doesn’t need Moscow’s help anymore, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday.

“All the forces deployed illegitimately inside any sovereign state – in this case Syria – must leave,” RT quoted Putin as saying in a joint interview with RT Arabic, UAE-based Sky News Arabia, and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya broadcasters.


13:15 Syrian Kurdish-led authority says nearly 200,000 people displaced by Turkish offensive

A total of 191,069 people have been displaced as a result of Turkish military operations that started on Wednesday, Reuters reported citing the Syrian Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria.

In a statement, the Kurdish-led authority said the attack had caused successive waves of displacement from Dayrik also known as al Malikiya at the Iraqi border to Kobani some 400 kilometres (250 miles) to the west.


13:00 Turkey says Ras al Ayn has been taken under control

Turkey’s Defence Ministry on Saturday said that the centre Ras al Ayn, across the border from Turkey’s southeastern town of Ceylanpınar, was seized. 

“As part of the successful operations being conducted within the framework of Operation Peace Spring, the town of Rasulayn, located east of the Euphrates, has been brought under control,” the Ministry said in a statement.

A picture shared by Reuters early Saturday shows explosions in Ras al Ayn that is under heavy bombardment of the Turkish military.

 


12:30 Death toll among Syrian Kurdish forces increases to 74 - observatory

The death toll among Kurdish militia battling a Turkish offensive has risen to 74, most of whom have been killed in the Tel Abyad area, Reuters reported on Saturday citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Some 49 fighters of the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (former Free Syrian Army) have been killed since the Turkish assault began on Wednesday, Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said.

The death toll among civilians in Syria climbed to 20 after two people died in the city of Qamishli, he said. Most of the civilian deaths were also in Tel Abyad, a border town that is one of the focal points of the operation.


12:00 Turkey says targeting U.S. troops in Syria “out of question”

Turkey’s defence minister on Saturday said that targeting a U.S. observation post in Syria was out of the question, after U.S. troops in the northeastern Syrian town of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions late Friday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Minister Hulusi Akar said mortars had been fired at Turkey’s border post in the Şanlıurfa province’s Suruç district from a kilometre (0.6 miles) southwest of the U.S. observation point.

“Every kind of precaution was taken so no damage came to the U.S. base,” Akar said.


11:40 Invading Syria cannot solve Turkey’s security concerns - Iranian Foreign Minister

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Turkey’s security concerns in Syria could only be solved through lowering tensions, and not through military aggression.

“While we accept Turks’ demands for security, I do not believe security can be achieved by invading Syria, by incursion into Syria,” Zarif said in an interview with Turkish state channel TRT World.

The diplomat said the Adana agreement signed between Ankara and Damascus in 1998 could provide common ground to solve the ongoing problems, adding that Tehran might also play a role in establishing dialogue between different sides.

“We can help bring together the Syrian Kurds, the Syrian government and Turkey so that the Syrian Armed Forces can guard the border with Turkey, together with Turkey,” he said.


11:40 Turkish authorities continue detentions over social media posts

Two people were arrested on Saturday in the northwestern province of Kocaeli over their social media posts denouncing the Turkish offensive in Syria, Cumhuriyet newspaper said.

Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that the authorities were investigating 43 accounts and have demanded the detention of five people.

One person was also taken into custody by the police over social media shares in the southeastern province of Siirt.


11:30 Erdoğan’s words rekindle hopes of ISIS members’ families in Netherlands - Dutch television
The families in Netherlands, whose relatives had joined the Islamic State (ISIS), hope that women and children staying in Kurdish-controlled camps in northeast Syria can return to the Netherlands following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements on the Turkish offensive in Syria, BBC Turkish reported.
Families told Dutch television NOS that Erdoğan gave them hope after saying that Turkey would return women and children to embassies of relevant countries.


11:00 Arab League to hold emergency meeting on Syria

The Arab League is set to hold an emergency meeting on Saturday at Egypt's request to discuss Turkey’s military moves in Syria, the Gulf Business reported. 

Turkish offensive is “an unacceptable aggression against the sovereignty of an Arab nation member of the Arab League, in violation of international law and conventions,” said Arab League assistant secretary general Hossam Zaki in a written statement.


10:30 Turkey’s state news agency says key highway reached in Syria offensive

Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces have reached a strategic highway in northeastern Syria, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday.

Anadolu said fighters of the Syrian National Army (former Free Syrian Army) had arrived at the M-4 highway. The road connects  the Syrian towns of Manbij and Qamishli and is about 30 kilometres south of the Turkish border.


10:00 Turkish civil society organisations call for national unity

A group of Turkish civil society organisations, including chambers of trade, trade unions and the country’s federation of bar associations, said on Friday it was time to act in national unity to face economic threats made against Turkey over its military operation in northern Syria.

Some 11 organisations vowed to support Ankara’s diplomatic efforts to inform the international community about Turkey’s “rightful stance” in a joint statement read by Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).


09:00 Israel may provide support to SDF - Israeli official

Israel may provide military support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria if Turkey’s military campaign intensifies, Turkish Duvar news site quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying to Independent Arabic. 

In case of an offensive against the Kurds, Israel would not take military action against Turkish forces, but might provide different types of support to the SDF including weaponry, the official said. 


08:00 U.S. Syria outpost vacated after coming under fire from Turkish artillery

An American outpost in northeastern Syria has been vacated after coming under fire from Turkish artillery late Friday, Associated Press reported citing U.S. officials.

The officials said a number of U.S. troops had left their post on a hill outside the town of Kobani, while a large base in the town had not been affected by the shelling.


07:30 Turkey to respond in full reciprocity to U.S. sanctions

Turkey will respond tit-for-tat to any U.S. sanctions to be imposed over Turkey’s military incursion in northern Syria, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday. 

"There shall be no doubt that, any step that will be taken in opposition to this, will be met with a multi-folded response in the context of full reciprocity," said spokesman Hami Aksoy.


07:00 France and the United States to remain in close contact over Turkey’ Syria offensive

France and the United States have agreed to remain in close contact over Turkey’s escalating campaign in northern Syria, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said, adding that he had stressed the need to try to end the offensive in a phone call with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump late on Friday, Reuters reported.

“France and the United States, which share common concerns, will coordinate closely in the coming days,” the Élysée Palace said in a statement.


01:19 - Ethnic cleansing in Syria by Turkey - U.S. Senator

Influential U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, in another series of tweets, accused Turkey of conducting ethnic cleansing by Turkish military operation in N. Syria.

We are witnessing ethnic cleansing in Syria by Turkey, the destruction of a reliable ally in the Kurds, and the re-emergence of ISIS.


23:45 - U.S. forces deliberately hit by Turkish shelling in Kobani

The former U.S. Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk said Turkey was informed about U.S. bases in Syria and the incident was not a mistake.

When asked about the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey after the incident, Trump said the U.S. administration would examine the situation.


22:30 - Explosion near U.S. military outpost in SDF-controlled Kobani - U.S. official

An explosion occurred near a U.S. military outpost in northern Syria on Friday, but no U.S. personnel were injured, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed U.S. official.

The official said the source of the explosion near Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-controlled Kobani was unclear, but it came as Turkey wages an offensive in northeast Syria.

Newsweek was the first to report the incident. It said that U.S. troops in Kobani had been caught up in Turkey’s shelling.


21:00 - Erdoğan rebukes calls for end to Turkey's Syria offensive

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late on Friday said several countries asked Turkey to stop its incursion into northeast Syria but the country was determined to continue to the end.

"Threats, asking for an end to the operation, coming from left to right. I told Mr Trump, and I told the others. If you can stop it, stop it. But they did not. We take matters into own hands," Erdoğan said in the Conference of Parliamentary Speakers held in Ankara.


20:45 - Conservative Christians criticise Trump's approval of Turkey's Syria offensive

Evangelical Christians, devoted supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, have said his decision to give a green light to Turkey's offensive into northeast Syria was the biggest mistake of his presidency, the New York Times reported.

Some of the evangelicals worry that U.S. withdrawal threatens religious minorities, especially Syriacs, one of the oldest Christian communities living in Syria, NYT said.


20:00 - ISIS claims deadly car bomb attack in Syrian Kurdish-held city of Qamishli

The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed the car bomb attacked that killed three civilians in the Syrian Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli on Friday, AFP reported.


See Friday’s live blog.