With a Turkish military operation in Syria in full swing, tires are being burned across the north-eastern city of Qamishli in order to reduce visibility for Turkish warplanes, a Sputnik correspondent reports.
The operation affected a number of Syrian border areas, including the village of Senyurt in Mardin province, where residents were evacuated due to Turkish shelling on Wednesday.
A partial evacuation also took place in the province’s Nusaybin area after at least three people were injured by Turkish airstrikes; the situation in the area remains unstable, according to the Sputnik correspondent.
The developments come after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to "open doors" for 3.5 million Syrian refugees to Europe if the EU decides to refer to the Turkish military operation in northeast Syria as an occupation.
He insisted that Turkey’s military operation would help strengthen Syria’s territorial integrity by containing Kurdish forces’ drive to control the Arab country's northeastern areas.
EU, US Frustrated Over Turkish Op in Syria
The remarks followed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s warning that Ankara “must cease the ongoing military operation” in Syria.
US President Donald Trump said that the Turkish operation is a "bad idea," reiterating that the US does not endorse Turkey's offensive and adding that Washington is watching it closely. Late last week, Washington announced that US troops would withdraw from northern Syria and that Washington would not back Ankara’s military operation in the area.
According to the press service of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), at least three Kurdish militia fighters and five civilians have been killed, with dozens injured in Turkish shelling of border areas inside Syria.
Beginning of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring
The operation began on 9 October as the US withdrew support for the SDF and related Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the de facto autonomous region known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, often referred to as Rojava by the Kurds.
Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organisation, related to its own Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK). According to Ankara, the offensive is aimed at clearing the border area of terrorist forces and creating a security zone.