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Turkey’s ongoing military assault in Syria has left more than 100 Kurdish forces dead, a report said Thursday morning, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s troops launched airstrikes and unleashed artillery shelling on Syrian towns and villages the length of its border.
Information about the rising death toll came as Turkey’s state-run news agency said Turkey-allied Syrian opposition fighters have “cleared of terror” two villages across the border in Syria — meaning there are no more Syrian Kurdish fighters in those villages.
The Middle East Eye, quoting Erdoğan, reported that 109 Kurdish fighters have been killed so far in Operation Peace Spring.
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish commandos entered the village of Beir Asheq, near the town of Tal Abyad on Thursday morning.
Turkish forces began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.
Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria started after U.S. troops pulled back from the area, paving the way for the assault on Syrian Kurdish forces, who have long been allied with the U.S.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said Turkish jets and artillery struck 181 targets east of the Euphrates River since the incursion started.
Turkey says it intends to create a “safe zone” that would push Kurdish militia away from its border and eventually allow the repatriation of up to 2 million Syrian refugees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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