Kurdish fighters holding down northern city, beating back Turkish & Syrian army
dpa, Hamburg, Germany
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have repelled an attempt by Turkish troops and their Syrian allies to enter Syria’s northern city of Ain Issa, Kurdish sources said.
On Wednesday, Turkey launched a long-threatened military offensive in northern Syria with airstrikes and artillery fire, later sending in ground troops, after a US decision to abandon its Syrian-Kurdish partners.
The SDF, which has been Washington’s main partner in defeating Islamic State, dominates a swathe of territory in north-eastern Syria.
SDF fighters managed “to stop the advancing force and inflict casualties among their ranks,” sources said.
The attempt was followed by Turkish shelling on Ain Issa’s outskirts, which is only 35 kilometres from the city of Tel Abyad.
Located in northern al-Raqqa province, Tal Abyad is where Kurdish fighters expelled Islamic State militants in June 2015.
The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told dpa that Turkish troops and their allies failed to make any progress overnight and have not entered any of the major cities in the area.
He added that there was some shelling on several areas on the outskirts of Tel Abyad.
Residents who fled Tel Abyad told dpa that some civilians who are still inside the city were prevented from leaving by Kurdish fighters.
“They (the Kurds) want to use them as human shields,” one resident who requested anonymity said.
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