Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the start of Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria.
Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri'miz Suriye Milli Ordusu'yla birlikte Suriye'nin kuzeyinde PKK/YPG ve Deaş terör örgütlerine karşı #BarışPınarıHarekatı'nı başlatmıştır.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
Amacımız güney sınırımızda oluşturulmaya çalışılan terör koridorunu yok etmek ve bölgeye barış ve huzuru getirmektir.
Mr Erdogan added that the operation is aimed against the Kurdistan Workers' Party and Daesh* and is meant to protect Syria's territorial integrity.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu took to Twitter to explain the reason for Operation Peace Spring in Syria.
This operation is being carried out in accordance with international law, Article 51 of the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolutions on fight against terrorism. #OperationPeaceSpring🇹🇷— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) October 9, 2019
Syria Reacts to Start of Turkish Military Operation
Syria's state TV has confirmed that the Turkish army launched an operation in the country's north by carrying out an airstrike on the city of Ras al-Ain. According to a statement by the Syrian Democratic Forces' press service, Turkish warplanes launched airstrikes on civilian areas, causing panic among the local population.
According to Turkey's NTV news channel, two mortar shells hit the border town of Ceylanpinar, no casualties have been reported.
Erdogan Talks to Putin
Earlier on Wednesday, Russian and Turkish presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked on the phone and noted the importance of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and respect for its sovereignty, the Kremlin said.
According to the deputy chairman of the Russian upper house's foreign affairs committee, Vladimir Dzhabarov, Russia will stay out of the conflict between Turkey and Syria.
"Russia will definitely not get involved, this is not our conflict. Russian Armed Forces are not in Syria for this purpose, their aim is to help free Syria from international terrorism," the lawmaker said, adding that the Russian troops were in another part of the country, away from where Turkey's operation was happening.
Turkey-US Plans of Creating 'Safe Zone' in Syria
Ankara and Washington have long been in talks over the creation of a "safe zone" in northern Syria but in September Turkey said that the US was stalling the process and said that it would establish the zone on its own if needed.
Earlier this month, Turkey announced that it would launch a military operation in northeastern Syria to oust Kurdish militants from the area and establish a "safe zone" in the region to accommodate Syrian refugees there. The US said it would never endorse the Turkish operation and would pull out its troops from the Kurdish-held territory.
*Daesh (also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.