News World Turkey accused of breaking ceasefire in northern Syrian village attacks

Turkey accused of breaking ceasefire in northern Syrian village attacks

Turkish soldiers patrol the northern Syrian Kurdish town of Tal Abyad. Photo: Getty
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The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have accused Turkey of launching a large land offensive targeting three villages in northeast Syria despite a truce.

Russia, however, maintains that a peace plan hammered out this week is going ahead smoothly.

Under the plan, agreed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Syrian Kurdish forces are to withdraw more than 30km from the Turkish border. 

There had been early signs Turkish forces would not obey the ceasefire when shelling continued the day after last week’s announcement. Photo: Getty

Russia’s RIA news agency, quoting an SDF official, said this had been already achieved.

Russia said it was sending more military policemen and heavy equipment to help implement the deal, which has prompted US President Donald Trump to lift sanctions against Turkey and has drawn lavish praise for Erdogan in the Turkish media.

Ankara views the Kurdish YPG militia, the main component in the SDF, as terrorists linked to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey.

It launched a cross-border offensive against them on October 9 after Trump ordered US forces out of northeast Syria.

The deal agreed with Putin, which builds on and widens a previous US-brokered ceasefire, helped end the fighting.

But the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in its statement on Thursday that Turkish forces had attacked three villages “outside the area of the ceasefire process”, forcing thousands of civilians to flee.

“Despite our forces’ commitment to the ceasefire decision and the withdrawal of our forces from the entire ceasefire area, the Turkish state and the terrorist factions allied to it are still violating the ceasefire process,” the SDF said.

“Our forces are still clashing,” it added, urging the US to intervene to halt the renewed fighting.

Turkey’s defence ministry did not comment directly on the SDF report but said five of its military personnel had been wounded in an attack by the YPG militia around the border town of Ras al Ain, near where the three villages are located.

Turkey has previously said it reserves the right to self defence against any militants who remain in the area despite the truce, a pledge repeated by Erdogan on Thursday.

“If these terrorists don’t pull back and continue their provocations, we will implement our plans for a (new) offensive there,” he said in a speech to local administrators.