Thousands flee as Turkey steps up Syria assault

Turkey has stepped up its ground and air offensive against Kurdish militia in northern Syria, forcing thousands to flee.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that so far, more than 100 “terrorists” had been killed in the fighting, although casualty reports from the area did not support his claim.

Meanwhile, two people, including a child, have been reportedly killed in the Turkish border town of Akcakale by incoming mortar fire from Kurdish-held positions.

International aid agencies are warning of an escalating humanitarian crisis in the region.

Ankara launched its military operation after US President Donald Trump pulled out American troops from alongside their Kurdish allies.

The move drew swift criticism from both Republicans and Democrats in Washington as well as from defence experts.

Kurdish forces have halted all operations against Islamic State in order to focus on battling Turkish troops, according to Kurdish and US officials.

Turkish fighter jet

Turkish jets take off as smoke rises in Syria

Syrian Kurdish fighters had along with US forces been tackling the remnants of IS, after the terror group was defeated earlier this year.

Urging moderation by Turkey during its assault, Mr Trump warned Ankara that it would be hit hard financially if it did not “play by the rules.”

Writing on Twitter, the US president said: “I am trying to end the ENDLESS WARS. Talking to both sides.

“I say hit Turkey very hard financially & with sanctions if they don’t play by the rules! I am watching closely.”

The Turkish military said its jets and artillery had so far struck 181 targets.

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