At least 15 people were killed, while 40 others were injured after Turkey bombarded Syria late on Wednesday. According to reports, 8 of the 15 killed in Kurdish-controlled region of northeaster Syria were civilians. Meanwhile, thousands have fled the Syrian town of Ras al Ain towards Hasaka province, held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, news agency Reuters reported.
Explosions also rocked Ras al Ain, just across the border from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar. Reporters said the sound of warplanes could be heard above and smoke rose from buildings in Ras al Ain.
The Turkish bombardment comprised a limited number of airstrikes and mostly artillery fire. This was carried out "across most of the width of its long border with Kurdish-controlled regions of Syria", media reports said.
In northern Syria, residents of the borders areas were in a panic and got out on foot, in cars and with rickshaws piled with mattresses and a few belongings. It was a wrenchingly familiar scenario for the many who, only a few years ago, had fled the advances on their towns and villages by Islamic State group, said the Associated Press.
Plumes of smoke could be seen rising near the town of Qamishli and clashes continued late Wednesday amid intense shelling as Turkey struck at least six different border towns along a 290-mile (300-kilometre) stretch.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, said Turkish warplanes were targeting “civilian areas” in northern Syria and that shells also had fallen near a prison guarded by Kurds and holding some of the most dangerous IS militants.
US troops had pulled back from the area, paving the wat for an assault on forces that have long been allied with the United States.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the campaign, which followed the abrupt decision Sunday by US President Donald Trump to essentially abandon the Syrian Kurdish fighters, leaving them vulnerable to a Turkish offensive that was widely condemned around the world.
The decision was a major shift in US policy and drew oppositions from all sides at home.
It also marked a stark change in rhetoric by Trump, who during a press conference in New York last year vowed to stand by the Kurds, who have been America’s only allies in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.
Trump said at the time that the Kurds “fought with us” and “died with us,” and insisted that America would never forget.