Turkish army resumes ground offensive on northern Syria, removes border walls
QAMISHLI (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkish army and their affiliated Syrian opposition militias resumed their offensive on northern Syria, which is under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and attempted to enter border points, reporters and activists said on Thursday.
“The Turkish army removed the concrete blocks of the border walls near Tal Halaf town in the western outskirts of Serekaniye,” nearby sources told Kurdistan 24.
Although artillery fire and airstrikes hit cities across the northern border of Syria on Wednesday, the ground offensive seem to be focused on the towns of Tal Abyad and Serekaniye (also known as Ras al-Ain in Arabic).
“Right now, there are Turkish airplanes hitting some positions in Ras al-Ain city and in Tal Abyad, and there were clashes between the SDF and the Turkish army,” Roj Moussa, a reporter for North Press, told Kurdistan 24.
He added that the initial goal of the Turkish-backed forces seems to be to take Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.
The Rojava Information Centre in a statement claimed the Turkish army’s “strongest invasion attempts” were along the Serekaniye-Tal Abyad axis.
Sinam Mohammed, the representative of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) states that “the Turkish army removed the separation barrier opposite the ancient archaeological town of Tal Halaf in the west of the city of Serekaniye.”
According to the Kurdish Red Crescent (KRC), seven civilians have been killed so far as a result of the fighting.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) stated that, on Wednesday, eight civilians died and 13 others were injured. Three of them were in the Mitgaltah village in the countryside of Tal Abyad.
Two civilians were killed in the Christian Bashiriyah neighborhood of Qamishli city.
A total of seven SDF fighters were killed when Turkish bombardments hit the Tal Abyad and Serekaniye areas. However, SOHR reported that the “number of casualties is expected to increase” with 28 more injured, “some of whom are in critical condition.”
The SDF press office said dozens of civilians have been injured due to the large-scale indiscriminate Turkish shelling along the border of northern Syria.
At the moment, Turkish warplanes are still hovering over Serekaniye and Tal Abyad, with heavy airstrikes, artillery, and mortar shells coming from the Turkish side of the border targeting the areas.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Wladimir van Wilgenburg)