Turkish strikes are causing chaos on the Syrian border - here's what you need to know
- After President Donald Trump announced his decision late Sunday night to pull US troops from northeastern Syria, Turkey began an invasion of territory held by Kurdish forces.
- Turkey claims it has struck at least 180 targets in Syria and claims 109 Kurdish casualties, although other observers put the number much lower.
- Kurdish forces appeared to strike back on Thursday, when shells hit a border town in Turkey.
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A Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria has appalled the international community and reportedly caused widespread chaos.
Turkey launched both air and ground operations Wednesday, just days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull US troops out of the area, leading to widespread condemnation even among his allies.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were an important partner in the US-led fight against ISIS in Syria. Kurdish forces are also guarding as many as 12,000 ISIS fighters in makeshift prisons and thousands of ISIS sympathizers in the al-Hol refugee camp.
Thus far in the fighting:
- The Turkish military reports 109 Kurdish casualties, although rights groups put the number much lower, at about 16 deaths.
- There are about 60,000 displaced people attempting to flee the clashes.
- The Turkish military reports that it has performed more than 180 strikes.
- Four towns near the border have been targeted.
- Turkish and allied forces claim to have captured at least two villages in Kurdish territory.
Read on for more.
The Turkish military, along with forces from the Syrian National Army, have mounted Operation Peace Spring, an incursion into territory controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
The first Turkish air strikes in northeastern Syria began Wednesday. The ground invasion began shortly thereafter.
On Wednesday, The Times reported as many as eight casualties in the initial strikes. On Thursday that number rose to at least 16.
As many as 12,000 ISIS prisoners have been held in makeshift prisons guarded by SDF forces in Syria.
Around 60,000 refugees have fled the area near the fighting, according to The Times.
Since Sunday, the world has expressed outrage over both Trump's decision to pull US forces and Erdogan's incursion into Syria.
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