Turkey launches military offensive in Syria
The governments of Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, the United Kingdom and Estonia (collectively known as the EU6) call upon Turkey to cease unilateral military action in north-east Syria.
The EU6 do not believe military action “will address Turkey’s underlying security concerns,” according to a statement read to journalists by Ambassador Jürgen Schulz of Germany following Security Council closed-door consultations.
“Renewed armed hostilities in the north-east will further undermine the stability of the whole region, exacerbate civilian suffering and provoke further displacements which will further increase the number of refugees and IDPs in Syria and in the region," the statement said.
The EU6 also called for "the protection of civilians and unhindered, safe and sustainable humanitarian access throughout Syria."
The French Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador in Paris on Thursday to discuss Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria, a French diplomatic source tells CNN.
Additionally, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Turkey to halt their operation, saying it risked allowing ISIS to rebuild their caliphate.
More than 60,000 people have been displaced in camps in northeastern Syria following the start of Turkey's military offensive, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC)
"In the last 24 hours it's reported that more than 64,000 people fled their homes in northeast Syria. If the offensive continues it's possible a total of 300,000 people could be displaced to already overstretched camps and towns still recovering from the fight against ISIS," said Misty Buswell, IRC's communications director for the Middle East.
The IRC is on the ground and continuing to work to provide humanitarian aid.
The following video features CNN's Clarissa Ward on the ground in Northern Syria answering questions about the Turkish military offensive:
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Turkey to end its offensive in northeast Syria and said the operation “risks helping [ISIS] rebuild its caliphate,” CNN affiliate BFM reported.
Speaking Thursday in Lyon, Macron said “I strongly condemn the unilateral military offensive in Syria and I call on Turkey to end it as quickly as possible.”
“This risks helping [ISIS] rebuild its caliphate, and this is a responsibility that Turkey will hold,” he added.
Thirteen rival Kurdish fighters have been killed in Turkey's military offensive in Syria, according to a statement from Major Yosef Hamoud, a spokesman for the Syrian National Army, a Turkey-backed rebel group.
"The forces of the National Army managed to liberate the village of Kashto Tahtani in the western side of Ras al-Ain city, also we managed to liberate Beer Ashek and Hamida villages in Tal Abyad countryside," Hamoud said in a statement.
"Until now 13 members of PYD/PKK have been killed in 'Peace Spring Operation,' " the spokesman said.
The PKK refers to the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party, a designated terrorist group in Turkey and the US. The PYD refers to the Kurdish opposition party known as the Democratic Union Party. Turkey considers the PYD to be a branch of the PKK.
CNN has spoken to several US military officers who have expressed dismay at President Trump's decision to reposition a small number of troops from northern Syria, believing it effectively gave the green light to the Turkish action. None would go on the record because of the sensitivity of speaking publicly.
Some of those expressing dismay are inside the ranks of special operations forces who have worked for years with the Syrian Democratic Forces and feel loyalty to stay in place and help them.
Several officials also say for now the White House wants to be control of the messaging on this, which is why the Pentagon has not spoken publicly.
A senior US defense official told CNN on Wednesday that Turkey's offensive into Syria “has already had a detrimental effect on our counter-ISIS operations; they have effectively stopped."
The Turkish operation "has challenged our ability to build local security forces, conduct stabilization operations and the Syrian Democratic Forces (ability) to guard over 11,000 dangerous ISIS fighters. We are just watching the second largest Army in NATO attack one of our best counter-terrorism partners,” the source said.
India has joined a growing number of countries criticizing Turkey's military operation in northern Syria, according to a statement released Thursday.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs said "Turkey’s actions can undermine stability in the region and the fight against terrorism."
The statement added: "Its action also has the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress. We call upon Turkey to exercise restraint and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria."
The Turkish border towns of Akcakale and Ceylanpinar were hit by several mortar rounds, killing two people and injured 46 others, according to a statement released by the governor's office in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa.
“As a result of mortar and rocket shells hitting Akcakale and Ceylanpinar, 9-month-old Syrian Muhammed Omar and an officer working for Tax Office, 46-year-old Cihan Gunes has been martyred,” the statement said.
Officials earlier told CNN said that several mortar rounds landed in the garden between the governor’s office and the riot police headquarters in Akcakale.
The Iraqi government has expressed concern over the current situation in northern Syria, saying that the Turkish military operation will complicate the situation in Syria and “directly impact security in Iraq,” according to a statement released by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.
Iraq also warned that a large number of militants and displaced people could enter Iraq from Syria following the Turkish military operation there.