The first clashes between Syrian soldiers and Turkish army units were recorded in northeastern Syria, the Sky News Arabia TV channel reported on Tuesday, citing independent Syrian sources.
The Turkish military and units of the Syrian opposition have captured 14 soldiers of the Syrian army in the northeastern part of the country, the Al-Arabiya TV channel informed, citing Kurdish sources.
“The Turkish army and the formations loyal to it have captured 14 soldiers of the Syrian army in the Tell Tamer settlement,” the TV channel noted.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted the launch of the military operation in Syria dubbed as Operation Peace Spring to counter what Ankara terms as terror organizations.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched Operation Peace Spring 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,” the Turkish leader said.
Erdogan also declared that the “Operation Peace Spring will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes,” adding that Ankara seeks to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.
Turkey has already carried out two military operations in Syria – Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch. As a result, a buffer security zone was established between border towns of Azaz and Jarabulus, while the town of Afrin was occupied.
Meanwhile, the SDS (Syrian Democratic Forces) leadership threatened Ankara with the start of “total war” in the event that Turkey decides to intervene. According to SDS spokesman Mustafa Bali, the Kurds and their Arab allies are trying to maintain stability in the region, but they are ready to stop the Turkish aggression.
Kurdish sources indicate that the SDS formations are on alert against the background of “suspicious” actions by the Turkish military just a few hundred meters on the Turkish side of the border from the Kurdish-controlled Syrian city of Kobani (Ain al-Arab).
Turkey has a 911-kilometer border with Syria and it has long denounced the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there. Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 19-mile (30-kilometer) wide safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij.