Turkey launches ground offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria

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Ras al-Ain, Syria

Turkey has launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria, with intensive bombardment followed by a ground offensive made possible by the withdrawal of US troops.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday the start of the attack on Twitter and soon after jets and artillery targeted Kurdish positions along the full width of the border, sending thousands of civilians fleeing their homes.

That was followed late in the evening by the beginning of a ground operation, the Turkish defence ministry said.

US President Donald Trump warned that if the Turkish operation was not conducted “in as humane a way as possible”, he would “wipe out” the country’s economy”.

The assault had seemed inevitable since he announced on Sunday a military pullback from the border, but the attack triggered international condemnation and an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was set for Thursday.

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