The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced the neutralization of 480 representatives of the Kurdistan Workers Party - Syrian Kurdish Self-Defense Forces (RPK-YPG) - as part of Operation Source of Peace.
The ministry said that last night the positions of the Kurdish forces were fired from the ground and from the air, including with the help of drones.
Barış Pınarı Harekâtı kapsamında gece boyunca kara ve hava ateş destek vasıtaları ve İHA'larla desteklenen operasyonlar başarıyla devam etti. Etkisiz hale getirilen terörist sayısı 480 oldu. # MSB # TSK # BarışPınarıHarekatı- TC Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) October 13, 2019
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later reported 490 dead. He also cited data on losses among the civilian Turkish population.
“During the shelling by terrorists of our cities, 18 civilians were killed and 147 were injured,” cites a fragment of his speech at a RIA Novosti press conference.
According to him, the military presence of Turkey in Syria is due to the inability of Damascus to confront terrorists.
As Erdogan specified, after the operation, Turkey intends to form a security zone in Syria 30-35 km deep from its borders. To date, the president noted, Turkish forces controlled the city of Ras al-Ain and surrounded Tell Abyad.
In addition, the Syrian state television channel Al-Ikhbariya reported that Turkish forces captured the border village of Suluk in the north-eastern Syrian province of Raqqa.
In turn, the Arab-Kurdish "Syrian Democratic Forces" announced an attack on the Turkish army, during which 75 soldiers were killed and seven tanks were destroyed. This was reported by the Kurdish news agency Firat, specifying that 19 soldiers were injured from the strike.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of Territories in northeastern Syria claims that 785 foreigners associated with IS * fled from the Ain Issa camp in the north of the country due to Turkey conducting a military operation in the region. A number of media say that we are talking about the families of the IS militants.
As follows from the Kurdish statement made by RIA Novosti, the foreigners left the camp "in coordination with a group of mercenaries, (loyal. - RT ) Turkey, under the cover of Turkish shelling and with the support of the Turkish attack and the mercenaries who made a brutal attack on the camp."
Recall, on October 9, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the third operation of Ankara in northern Syria, called the “Source of Peace”.
The Turkish leader said the purpose of the operation was to destroy the militants of the Islamic State, as well as representatives of Kurdish associations, the Workers Party of Kurdistan and the People’s Self-Defense Force, whom Ankara considers terrorists.
“The purpose of our mission is to prevent the creation of a terrorist corridor across our southern border and bring peace to the region,” the Turkish leader commented on the start of the operation. Another goal, according to Erdogan, is to create a security zone. According to the President of Turkey, this will contribute to the return of Syrian refugees home.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with Al Arabiya, Sky News Arabia and RT Arabic said that all foreign military forces should leave Syria for a political settlement.
“I spoke openly to my colleagues: the territory of Syria should be freed from foreign military presence and the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic should be fully restored,” the Russian leader said.
He noted that this condition may also apply to Russian forces if the Syrian side declares appropriate intentions.
“If the future leadership, the legitimate leadership of Syria, says that it no longer needs the presence of the Russian Armed Forces, this also applies to the Russian Federation, of course,” the president said.
In turn, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Ankara to immediately cease operations in northern Syria. She mentioned this question during a telephone conversation with Erdogan.
As the representative of the Cabinet of Germany, Ulrike Demmer, Merkel adheres to a position that the Ankara’s operation “threatens to lead to the relocation of a large number of local residents, destabilization of the region and the strengthening of the Islamic State.”
US Presence in Syria
Conducting operations is accompanied by conflicting publications about its progress. The Washington Post writes that the Turkish military allegedly deliberately fired on the positions of the US Army in northeastern Syria. The newspaper published relevant information with reference to unnamed former and current employees of the American administration.
The publication cites the point of view of an American army officer, according to which the Turkish military fired 155 mm shells, knowing that the US military contingent is in the fired zone.
“We stayed there for several months, this is the most clearly defined position in the entire region,” the military said.
Recall, earlier, the Turkish Ministry of Defense denied the shelling of American positions in Syria. The agency said that the necessary measures had been taken to avoid damaging the US observation post.
Against the backdrop of the events in Syria, US President Donald Trump reiterated that US troops must leave the country because the United States "defeated the IS" and "must return home."
The head of the White House said that he does not see the need for the presence of American soldiers in Syria to protect the Turkish-Syrian border.
“The Kurds are leaving, and that’s good, let them have their own borders. But I don’t think that our soldiers should be there for another 50 years to guard the border between Turkey and Syria, ”TASS quoted him as saying.
President Erdogan previously stated that the operation was not aimed at combating terrorists, and not against the Kurds. He also noted that military operations in Syria and Iraq do not threaten the territorial integrity of these countries.
Against the backdrop of these events, the Kurds in Germany staged large protests in conjunction with the new Turkish military operation. According to RIA Novosti, with reference to the data of the German television channel ZDF, almost 20 thousand Kurds in different cities of Germany took part in the demonstrations.
It was reported that more than 10 thousand demonstrators gathered in Cologne, about 4 thousand people - in Frankfurt. Similar actions took place in Hanover, Hamburg, Berlin, Saarbrücken and Bremen.
Commenting on the actions of the Turkish side, the deputy director of the National Institute for the Development of Modern Ideology Igor Shatrov noted that the realities in which the 1998 agreements between Turkey and Syria were concluded have changed. According to him, the security zone planned by Ankara goes beyond the agreement.
“The fact is that realities have changed ... Kurdish organizations and terrorist organizations of a purely Syrian orientation have mixed up. The Turkish leader and the Turkish leadership in the person of the Minister of Foreign Affairs have repeatedly stated that Turkey does not intend to encroach on the territorial integrity of Syria, ”the expert said in an interview with RT.
He suggested that after some success was achieved, the armed forces would leave Syria and Turkey would continue to play the role of guarantor of the Syrian settlement together with Russia.
“I think that this situation will not have such a serious continuation, which scare third countries. After all, Turkey has already had to conduct operations on the territory of Syria twice over the past few years, and all of them ended, they did not have the continuation of the seizure of territory, the change of the borders of Syria, ”the expert concluded.
* “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIS) - the organization was recognized as terrorist by decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014.