Turkey says its military offensive has taken central Ras al-Ayn, a key border town in northeastern Syria, and its most significant gain since its cross-border operation began against Syrian Kurdish fighters began.
The Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted: “Ras al-Ayn’s residential center has been taken under control through the successful operations in the east of the Euphrates (River).”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, confirmed that Turkish troops have entered the town adding that fighting is still ongoing.
The Turkish military and allied Syrian opposition forces have been advancing in villages around Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, under the cover of Turkish artillery and some airstrikes.
Turkey is fighting the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which it considers a threat for its links to a decades-long Kurdish insurgency within its own borders.
The YPG forms the backbone of the U.S.-backed ground forces fighting the Islamic State group.
France’s president has discussed the Turkish offensive in Syria with U.S. President Donald Trump and warned about a possible resurgence of Islamic State activity as a result of the military action.
President Macron’s office said in a statement Saturday that in the call, the French leader “reiterated the need to make the Turkish offensive stop immediately.”