Ankara (IraqiNews.com) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday the launch of a military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched Operation Peace Spring against PKK/YPG and Daesh [Islamic State] terrorists in northern Syria,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” he wrote.
A Turkish security official said that the operation launched with air strikes and will be supported by artillery fire.
“Turkish warplanes have started to carry out air strikes on civilian areas,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Twitter.
Syrian state media and a Kurdish official separately said bombing hit the town of Ras al-Ain in the northeast along the Turkish border.
The US ambassador to Ankara has been summoned to the foreign ministry to be briefed on the Turkish operation , CNN Turk reported.
Turkey has long been planning military action against Kurdish forces in northern Syria due to their ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
The Turkish operation comes after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US forces from northeastern Syria, which is currently administered by the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), often referred to as Rojava.