Some 200,000 people were reportedly displaced during an ongoing military assault, as Turkish forces claimed to have taken control of a key Syrian border town Saturday.
Syrian troops backed by Turkey have reportedly invaded the center of Ras al-Ain today, while the Turkish offensive against a Kurdish militia of the region was entering its fourth day.
& # 39; The [Syrian rebel] the national army took control of downtown this morning. Inspections are conducted in residential areas, "said a senior Turkish official.
The Kurdish authorities, however, have denied that this is the case. "Ras al-Ain is still resisting and clashes continue," said the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Smoke rises from targets inside Syria during bombing by Turkish forces in Ras al-Ain
Explosion Saturday on the Syrian city of Ras al-Ain in the Turkish city of Ceylanpinar, in the province of Sanliurfa
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights has also indicated that the city, a major target of the Turkish offensive, has still not been completely taken.
This comes as Turkish troops intensified their bombing in northeastern Syria on Saturday, as the death toll rose to 74 Kurdish fighters and 30 civilians.
It is also estimated that nearly 200,000 people have been displaced as a result of the offensive, said the administration headed by Syrian Kurds.
On the front lines, thick sheets of smoke were forming around Ras al-Ain, one of the two Syrian border areas targeted by the offensive as forces backed by Turkey intensified their efforts. military assault.
Intense gunfire was also reported inside the city, while fighter planes could be heard overflying, reports said.
A thick layer of smoke formed around Ras al-Ain, one of two Syrian border areas targeted by the offensive as forces backed by Turkey intensified their attack.
Heavy gunshots were also heard from inside the city, while fighter planes could be heard overflying, reports said.
An official of the Syrian democratic forces in Ras al-Ain said the fighters had repulsed Ankara's forces but clashes were continuing.
Tel Abyad, the other main target of the operation located 75 km to the west, was less noisy, and only a few shells were heard in the region.
In the countryside, Kurdish fighters have lost ground. Turkish forces invaded 18 villages overnight, mostly near Tal Abyad, bringing the number of casualties to 23.
Turkish soldiers stand near military trucks in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border
An armored vehicle of the Turkish police patrols in the city of Akcakale, in the province of Sanliurfa, in the south-east of Turkey, on the Syrian border
Syrian rebel fighters backed by Turkey board a vehicle in the village of Yabisa, near the Turkish-Syrian border
Turkey has announced its goal to defeat the YPG, which it sees as an enemy of its links with PKK militants who fought a decades-long insurgency in Turkey, in which 40,000 people were killed.
On Friday night, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan rejected growing international criticism of the operation. He said that Turkey "will not stop it, no matter what someone says".
The move comes as the death toll among fighters led by Syrian Kurds has increased to 74, most of which have been killed in the Tel Abyad region, confirmed the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. man.
Director of the Observatory, Rami Abdulrahman, also said that 49 fighters belonging to Syrian rebel groups backed by Turkey had been killed since the start of Wednesday's assault.
The balance sheet of Syrian civilians rose to 30 on Saturday.
The mourners carry the coffins of Halil Yagmur, 64 years old and Muslum Guzel, killed on Friday during a mortar bombardment from Syria
Families in mourning at Yagmur's grave, killed in a mortar attack in Suruc, near the northern border of Syria
The Turkish Ministry of Defense said that 415 YPG militants had been "neutralized" since the beginning of the operation, a term that usually means killed.
The international community has strongly criticized the aggression and its humanitarian consequences. The Syrian Kurdish-led administration said nearly 200,000 people had been displaced as a result of the offensive.
Youssef Hammoud, spokesman for the national army backed by Turkey, added Saturday that fighters had cut the road 712 that connects Tel Abyad to Ras al Ain.
"This advance was on a surprising new front between Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain. On this front, they were able to cut the roads connecting Suluk, Tel Abyad, Ras al-Ain to villages in the region, "he said.
The United States stepped up its efforts to persuade Ankara to end the incursion against US-backed Kurdish forces, saying that Ankara was causing "considerable prejudice" to relations and could make the 39, subject to sanctions.
Turkey opened its offensive after US President Donald Trump telephoned Erdogan on Sunday and pulled out US troops fighting alongside Kurdish forces.
On Friday night, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan rejected international criticism of the operation and said that Turkey "will not stop it, no matter what someone says".
A Syrian Democratic Forces official in Ras al-Ain (photo Saturday) said the fighters had repulsed Ankara's forces but clashes were continuing.
A little earlier, the Pentagon said that US troops had been hit by artillery fire from the Turkish position on Friday but that none of its soldiers had been injured near Kobani. in Syria, 37 km west of the conflict zone.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense has stated that its forces did not open fire on the US base and took every precaution to prevent any damage to it when it responded to fire from a nearby area by the militia. Kurdish YPG, which Ankara considers a terrorist group.
"US and coalition soldiers have certainly not been touched. Indeed, our headquarters and the Americans are in charge of the necessary coordination, "said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Saturday.
The Syrian democratic forces, of which the Kurdish YPGs constitute the main element of combat, now occupy most of the territory that was once the "caliphate" of the Islamic State in Syria and have kept thousands of jihadist group fighters alive. prison and tens of thousands of their family members in the camps.
The United States stepped up efforts to persuade Ankara to end the incursion against US-backed Kurdish forces
The United States said that Ankara was causing "considerable prejudice" to relations and could be subject to sanctions in the future
A US military vehicle patrols Saturday on a road near the town of Tal Baydar in the countryside of Hasakeh province in northeastern Syria
The Kurdish militia said that the Turkish assault could allow the jihadist group to resurface while some of its supporters escaped from jails.
In its first major attack since the start of the assault Tuesday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Qamishli, the largest city in the Kurdish-controlled area, even though that the city was under a Turkish bombardment.
Five fighters from the Islamic State fled the prison, and foreign women from the incarcerated group in a camp set fire to tents and attacked the guards with sticks and stones, the SDF said.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told his Turkish counterpart that they should defuse the situation before it becomes "irreparable", while European Council President Donald Tusk warned that this could lead to a "humanitarian catastrophe".
A motorist travels to Akcakale, in the province of Sanliurfa, in southeastern Turkey, on the border with Syria.
A cigarette taken from Tel Abyad in Syria on Saturday on a photo taken on the Turkish side of the border
Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, responded to criticism on Saturday by saying that "Turkey's fight is being waged against terrorists, not Kurds or civilians".
"Blackmail and threats will never deter Turkey from defending its just cause," Kalin wrote on Twitter. "God willing, victory will be ours."
US lawmakers tabled new legislation on Friday calling for tough sanctions on Turkey for the offensive, highlighting the dissatisfaction of Democrats and compatriots of President Trump in Congress over his policy towards Syria.