09:00 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Smoke rises from the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain as it is pictured from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 9, 2019

    Turkish Army Takes Control Over Syrian Border City Ras al-Ayn - Report

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    Ankara announced earlier this week that since the start of the Operation Peace Spring, Turkish forces have "neutralised" 525 armed militants in northern Syria.

    The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have left the city of Ras al-Ayn, while the Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants have taken control over the area, Syrian broadcaster Ikhbariya reported on Sunday.

    "SDF groups have left the city of Ras al-Ayn, while the Turkish government's army and mercenaries have seized it", the broadcaster said.

    The shifts in the region are occurring amid a five-day ceasefire that was negotiated by Turkey and the US on Thursday.

    SDF militants stated a day ago that they would withdraw from the Turkish border only if Ankara allows them to evacuate fighters and civilians from Ras al-Ayn.

    Turkish authorities claim that they seized the city over a week ago, however, the clashes between the army and the SDF continued.

    A Turkish army howitzer is positioned near the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 17, 2019
    © REUTERS / MURAD SEZER
    A Turkish army howitzer is positioned near the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 17, 2019

    Ankara launched its offensive in Syria, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, on 9 October, fighting against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, as Turkish authorities believe that the Kurdish militia within the group is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is banned in the country as a terrorist organisation.

    Damascus has also slammed Ankara, stressing that Turkish forces are occupying Syrian territory, carrying out the offensive without any permission from Syria's government. The Syrian government also boosted the presence of its army in the area, reclaiming several cities and reportedly clashing with multiple opposition factions, but avoiding battles with Turkey.

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    Tags:
    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Syria, Turkey, military offiensive, military operation, Operation Peace Spring
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