Smoke billows from a fire in Ras al-Ain, Syria on Friday, October 18.
Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

In photos: Turkey launches military offensive in Syria

Updated 6:50 PM ET, Fri October 18, 2019

Smoke billows from a fire in Ras al-Ain, Syria on Friday, October 18.
Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Clashes continued on the border between Turkey and Syria on Friday, according to eyewitnesses and Kurdish fighters, despite US Vice President Mike Pence's announcement that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had brokered a five-day ceasefire there.

Turkey launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria on October 9, just days after the Trump administration announced that it was pulling US troops back from the area.

The offensive was aimed at pushing Kurdish forces away from Turkey's border with Syria.

The Syrian Democratic Forces who operate in the area are US allies. They are led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization affiliated with the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party.

The Kurds have long been considered one of Washington's most reliable partners in Syria and in the broader campaign against the ISIS terror group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces have suspended their counter-ISIS operations to deal with the Turkish offensive. They have also struck a deal with the Syrian government, marking a major shift in their country's eight-year war.