ISTANBUL: The Turkish operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria has begun, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army (rebel groups backed by Ankara), just launched #OperationPeaceSpring,” Erdogan wrote on Twitter in English.
He said the offensive targeted Kurdish militants and the Daesh group in northern Syria.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” he wrote.
Turkey has long been planning military action against Kurdish forces in northern Syria due to their ties with the Kurdistan Workers´ Party (PKK), which has fought a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
A Turkish security source told Reuters the military operation into Syria has been launched with air strikes and will be supported by artillery and howitzer fire.
Several large explosions rocked Ras al Ain, just across the border across from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, a CNN Turk reporter said, adding that the sound of planes could he heard above. Smoke was rising from buildings in Ras al Ain, he said.