Turkey Mistakenly Shells U.S. Special Forces in Syria

Turkey Mistakenly Shells U.S. Special Forces in Syria

Turkey Mistakenly Shells U.S. Special Forces in Syria

That brings the civilian death toll to 17 on the Syrian side, while seven have also been killed in Turkey.

However, it was after President Donald Trump's decision to pull USA troops out of the area that Turkey launched its assault, sparking SDF charges they had been "stabbed in the back".

Trump's unexpected decision came as he faces an impeachment inquiry at home.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called for an emergency meeting of the US -led coalition of more than 30 countries created to fight Islamic State.

Even some of Trump's staunchest Republican supporters have sharply criticized the decision, which some regard it as a betrayal of the US-armed Kurdish fighters who partnered with USA forces against the Islamic State, at great cost. "Turkey might establish a safe zone for its own safety but this is not a place for civilians and refugees".

In Syria, residents fled with their belongings loaded into cars, pickup trucks and motorcycle rickshaws, while others escaped on foot.

The assault appeared nearly inevitable after Trump announced on Sunday that United States troops deployed in the area were pulling back from the border.

Ankara says the aim of its military operation in Syria is to defeat the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as linked to Kurdish separatists in Turkey. Those figures could not be independently verified.

Turkish officials said the Kurdish militia has fired dozens of mortars into Turkish border towns the past two days, including Akcakale, killing at least six civilians, including a 9-month-old boy and three girls under 15. He was happy about the Turkish offensive, he said.

Two others died when a shell hit a house in the town of Suruc, adjacent to Kobane in Syria, the Anadolu news agency reported.

In its first big attack since the assault began, ISIL claimed responsibility for a deadly auto bomb in Qamishli, the biggest city in the Kurdish-held area of Syria, even as the city came under heavy Turkish shelling. But their claims could not be independently verified.

He said a convoy of 20 armoured vehicles carrying Syrian rebels entered Syria from Ceylanpinar on Friday.

"We're heading to the countryside because we're scared of renewed bombing and intensified clashes", said Rizan Mohammad, 33, who fled the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli with his family.

Milley said leaders of the Kurdish force have told some of their fighters to move north to defend what they consider to be their territory.

It has been holding thousands of captured IS fighters in prisons and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said: "Failure to play by the rules, to protect vulnerable populations, cannot be expected to restore these actions, will have consequences".

European Council President Donald Tusk chastised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday for threatening to send millions of Syrian refugees to Europe and blasted the Turkish operation in northern Syria as destabilising the region.

The Pentagon said on Friday that Ankara's military incursion into northeastern Syria was damaging U.S. -Turkey relations, adding that the United States was not abandoning its Kurdish partners.

Fighting mostly centred around Tal Abyad - one of the main Kurdish-controlled towns in the area coveted by Ankara.

It says it wants to create a "safe zone" to return millions of refugees to Syrian soil - and that Europe should pay for it, a plan the European Union has rejected outright.

"I've heard him say it before: there's nothing more hard in any part of his job than that role that he has to play as commander in chief", she said. It says it aims to set up a "safe zone" inside Syria, where it can resettle numerous 3.6 million refugees it has been hosting.

Turkish forces have seized nine villages near Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war.

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