No 'peace' spring: Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria met with worldwide condemnation

Fleeing civilians tell CNN they don't know where it's safe

Fleeing civilians tell CNN they don't know where it's safe

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, announcing the start of the action, said the aim was to eliminate what he called a "terror corridor" on Turkey's southern border.

In 2014, Australia joined the U.S-led coalition and offered military and financial support to fight the Islamic State through the establishment of the Australian Defence Force's Operation Okra, which had a cut in the 2019-20 defence budget due to the apparent defeat of the Islamic State ground forces in Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Ministry called for an "immediate" halt to Turkey's offensive and the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syrian territory, citing concerns about the humanitarian situation and the dangers to civilians in the conflict zone.

In a letter to the 15-member Council, Turkey said its military operation would be "proportionate, measured and responsible".

Ankara said it plans to target Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and ISIL militants during the offensive.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday he had been in contact with the Turkish and USA governments overnight, but admitted to being anxious about the situation in Syria following Ankara's announcement of a military operation.

The biggest fear for the United States and its allies is that Turkey's takeover of PYD-controlled areas could see the release of some of the 15,000 IS fighters previously captured by the Kurds and their allies.

The Sultan Murad Division was established in 2013.

The decision has been widely criticized as an abandonment of Syrian Kurds.

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The Ahrar al-Sharqiya group, founded in 2016, comprises mostly of fighters from the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor. They reportedly include Zehra Duman, who fled Australia as a teenager to marry an Islamic State militant.

Anadolu Agency said on Thursday the Turkish-backed fighters entered the villages of Yabisa and Tel Fander. SDF has not indicated whether all of its forces would participate in defending the region against the Turkish incursion. Turkey considers the YPG a "terrorist" group.

Turkey views the YPG, the main fighting force within SDF, as a terrorist group that has ties with the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Turkey, U.S. and European Union designated terror group. They have been holding thousands of captured IS fighters in prisons and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention.

The SDF, led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), has appealed to the United States and its allies for a "no-fly zone" to protect it from Turkish air strikes.

The operation dubbed "Peace Spring" by the Turkish government, began on Wednesday at around 4 p.m. with air raids and shelling while a ground offensive, involving Turkish soldiers and allied Syrian rebels, began at 11.30 p.m., reports Efe news.

When asked Wednesday about the threat of ISIS prisoners escaping, Trump claimed that some of the most risky ISIS prisoners had been moved, "putting them in other areas where it's secure".

The SDF who operate in the area are USA allies.

"We do not aspire to be 'a nation that dwells alone, ' but that is how we were forced to stand at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War", he said, noting that American assistance arrived only toward the end of the war.

While Washington's Middle East foreign policy continues to baffle analysts, a humanitarian crisis is emerging in the region.

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