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Turkish forces took Syrian border town

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels advanced into Ras al Ain in northeast Syria
20:47, 12 October 2019

Turkish army in Syria, October 2019
Bloomberg

Turkey announced it took the center of Ras al Ain, the Syrian town. This was stated by a senior Turkish official, Reuters reports.

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels advanced into Ras al Ain in northeast Syria on Saturday but it was unclear how far, with Turkey saying the town center had been taken and Kurdish-led forces denying this and saying they were counter-attacking.

"The National Army took control of the town center this morning. Inspections in residential areas continue," the report said.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said Turkey’s incursion was causing “great harm” in relations with its NATO ally. The head of the Arab League denounced the offensive and Germany said it was banning arms exports to Turkey, a NATO ally.

The Turkish assault has raised international alarm over its mass displacement of civilians and the risk it could trigger a revival of an Islamic State insurgency in Syria, with a heightened possibility of IS militants escaping Kurdish prisons.

The Kurdish-led administration in Syria’s northeast said nearly 200,000 people had been uprooted so far by the fighting, while the U.N. World Food Programme put the figure at more than 100,000 in the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain.

Related: Trump threatens to destroy Turkey's economics

Earlier Turkish troops fired at the field base of U.S. special forces in Syria. A senior Pentagon spokesman said the Turkish bombardment was so heavy that US forces decided to return fire for self-defense. Newsweek reported this.

"A contingent of US commandos was attacked at northern Syria a few days after US President Donald Trump announced to his Turkish counterpart that he would withdraw US troops from certain positions in the area," the statement said.

An Iraqi Kurdish intelligence officer and senior Pentagon official said special forces operating on Mashtenur Hill in the major city of Kobani were hit by artillery fire fromTurkish forces conducting the so-called Peaceful Spring operation against Kurdish militants.

No casualties have been reported.

Related: Turkey deploys forces in Syria

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