Turkish warplanes bomb targets inside Syria, President Erdogan says military incursion is to ‘neutralize terror threats against Turkey’


Turkish warplanes on Wednesday bombed parts of north-eastern Syria as part of the country’s military offensive. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to Twitter to defend the military strikes adding that this was to ‘neutralize terror threats against Turkey.’


The Turkish president tweeted, “The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.”

Erdogan’s subsequent tweet read, “#OperationPeaceSpring will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes. We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.”

The Turkish military strikes have taken place just days after the US President Donald Trump controversially withdrew his country’s troops from northern Syria. Trump made the decision after a phone conversation with Erdogan. Trump had come under considerable condemnation for abandoning the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), its main ally in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) armed group. The SDF, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), had termed the Trump’s decision as ‘stab in the back.’

A report by BBC World TV said that several large explosions were reported in the border town of Ras al-Ain while blasts were also heard in the Tal Abyad. Erdogan’s advisor said that his country’s troops were mindful of not harming any civilian targets. A witness in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad told the Reuters news agency that sounds of explosions rang out and smoke was rising nearby along the border with Turkey, as people fled the town en masse amid the beginning of the Turkish offensive.