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Death toll rises as Turkish offensive in Syria enters 2nd day

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At least 16 Kurdish fighters have been killed as Turkish ground forces assaulted towns in northeastern Syria.

Citing the official data provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitor based in Britain, The New York Times reported that members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed in the Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain areas of northeastern Syria, along with six attackers of unknown identity.

American troops had withdrawn from Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain on Monday prior to the launch of the Turkish offensive.

An additional 33 members of the SDF were wounded, the group said.

The Turkish military's move into Syria began on Wednesday, following President Trump's decision on Sunday to pull American troops out of Turkey's way, despite disagreement from his own military officers and State Department.

Trump condemned Turkey's operation as a "bad idea" on Wednesday and said this week that Turkey, a NATO ally, would face economic punishment if it did anything he considered "off-limits."

In the northern Syrian town of Tel Abyad, one of the spots where the fighting was heaviest, videos by residents recorded the rattle of gunfire and streaks of tracer fire over the town.

The Anadolu news agency reported that cannon fire into Tel Abyad decreased through the night. Land forces crossed into the city, and by Thursday morning the streets were silent.

Justifying its actions in a statement, Turkey, on Wednesday, said that the operation aims at "ensuring the security of our borders and the safety of our people," naming Kurdish militias and Islamic State militants as threats.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, October 10 2019. 14:41 IST