Following initial artillery fire and airborne strikes along the border, Turkish ground troops have now entered Syrian territory overnight. According to Reuters, the offensive has been targeted at important hubs near the border, including around the cities of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain. The offensive is supported from the west by the rebel alliance of the Free Syrian Army, which is largely made up of Islamists.
- Turkey's goal is believed to be to split the Kurdish state building in two parts and cut relations between them. Most Arabs live in one half, where the Turkish military expects a positive reception. At least not quite as much fighting spirit as in the area populated by Kurds, says SVT's emissary in Turkey Tomas Thorén.Resistance despite the disadvantage
The SDF states that their forces, which are in contention after playing a crucial role in the war against the Islamic State terrorist sector, have succeeded in halting the offensive against Tel Abyad. However, analysts believe that the NATO member is militarily superior to the Kurdish militia.
The Syrian Human Rights Observatory, based in London, states that 15 people have been killed in the first phase of the offensive, eight of them civilian. Another forty have been injured. However, the numbers are uncertain and can quickly rise. Thousands of civilians are reported to be fleeing grenades and advancing armored vehicles.
Turkey has long had the goal of removing the SDF, which is led by the Kurdish YPG militia, from the border areas to prevent the creation of a "terror corridor". This is due to the SDF's close association with the terrorist-stamped PKK.Support in the home opinion
"On the Turkish side, it seems that it is fully resolved to continue this offensive with full force despite the strong protests around the world," says Tomas Thorén.
Presient Erdogan, who at home has strong popular support for the offensive, also wants to establish a "safe zone" in northern Syria where he wants to move up to two million of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees present in Turkey.
The Kurds fear that the aim is to ethnically cleanse the Kurdish-dominated areas by mass immigration of Sunni Muslim Arab Syrians.
This article will be updated