Turkish fighter jets pounded civilian homes and positions of a group allied to the Syrian Democratic Forces in the village of al-Amarna, South of Jarabulus, in Aleppo province.
The Jarabulus Military Council group said in a statement that the attack caused civilian casualties, and called it “a dangerous escalation that threatens the fate of the region”.
The council asked Ankara to stop the attacks against the Kurdish forces, warning that “they know how to protect themeselves”.
The Turkish Army with the air support of the US-led coalition started a military operation on Wednesday to allegedly drive ISIL out of Jarabulus town. Turkish special forces entered Syrian territory as Ankara began cross-border “Euphrates Shield” military operation against the ISIL group early on Wednesday. The YPG Kurdish forces and the Free Syrian Army were both racing towards Jarabulus to take the city after ISIL started withdrawing from the Northern Aleppo city.
According to CNN Turk broadcaster, about 200 service personnel from armored forces and 150 special forces troops were involved in the Euphrates Shield military operation in Syria. At least 13 Turkish F-16 fighters, two rescue aircraft, one tanker aircraft and a plane equipped with airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) provided air support for the Turkish military.
A senior Turkish official also said Thursday that there were now more than 20 Turkish tanks inside Syria and that additional tanks and construction machinery would be sent in as required.
The Syrian foreign ministry condemned Ankara’s cross-border military operation and entry of Turkish special forces and tanks into Northern Syria.
“Damascus condemns the entry of Turkish army’s tanks into Northern Syria as a blatant violation of its sovereignty,” a Syrian foreign ministry official said on Wednesday.
The Syrian government also reacted to the Turkish officials’ claims that the Turkish troops have entered Northern Syria to fight the ISIL terrorists, and said, “Fighting the ISIL will not be realized by only running the ISIL from Northern Syria and replacing it with other terrorist groups supported by Turkey.”
The Russian foreign Ministry also said on Wednesday that the Syrian crisis can only be resolved through dialogue and on the basis of international law, expressing worry over reports of Turkey’s cross-border attack into Northern Syria.
“Moscow is deeply concerned about what is happening in the Syrian-Turkish border area,” the ministry said, adding that further degradation in the conflict zone and the prospect of Kurdish-Arab ethnic conflict raises alarm, Sputnik reported.
“We are convinced that the Syrian crisis can be resolved only on the solid basis of international law, through broad intra-Syrian dialogue with the participation of all ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, and on the basis of the June 30, 2012, Geneva Communique, Resolution 2254 and other UN Security Council resolutions adopted on the initiative of the International Syria Support Group,” the ministry stressed.
After Damascus and Moscow, Tehran underlined that any military action in Syria needs to be coordinated with the Syrian government first.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly declared that the fight against terrorist groups on the Syrian soil must take place in coordination with the central government, and must respect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as a fundamental principle of the international law,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.
“We have always underlined that the fight against terrorism is an international obligation, and regional states need to combat this heinous phenomenon through joint cooperation,” he added.
According to the Turkish television news channel citing military sources, the operation could last 15 days, and it aims to fully liberate Jarablus from ISIL and make a progress toward the Takfiri terrorist group’s de facto capital of Raqqa.
Meantime, Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed on Wednesday that the aim of Ankara’s military operation in Northern Syria is to eliminate threats from both the ISIL and the Kurds.
“We started a military operation in Northern Syria at 4 a.m. this morning, aimed at eliminating the threats posed by Daesh (ISIL) and Syrian Kurds,” President Erdogan said, adding that Turkey intends to put a stop to attacks on Turkish territory from neighboring Syrian regions.
“Turkey is ready to take joint steps both with the international coalition forces and with Russia,” President Erdogan underlined.