Turkish troops along with the Syrian National Army have begun Operation Peace Spring against the PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria,” Erdogan said on Twitter.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” he added.
Erdogan said the operation will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone that will facilitate return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
“We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists,” Erdogan said.
Turkey’s National Defense Ministry also announced the start of the operation, saying: "Operation Peace Spring has started at 4.p.m. local time today (1300GMT) for the purposes of ensuring the security of our borders, preventing the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, neutralizing terrorists and terrorist organizations, including Daesh and PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG, that threaten our national security, and creating the necessary conditions for the return of displaced Syrians to their homes and lands."
Two mortar shells were fired from YPG/PKK-occupied Rasulayn in Syria to Ceylanpinar district in Turkey’s border province of Sanliurfa.
No casualties were reported.
Following these announcements, air traffic increased at the eighth Main Jet military base in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir province.
Turkish fighter jets landed at the base, while others wait on the runway ready to take off.
Military cargo planes also intermittently land at the base.
The sound of howitzers also echoed in Ceylanpinar, as smoke rises from some districts of Rasulayn, and fighter jets zip along the Syrian border.
Turkish howitzers are targeting terrorists in Tal Abyad as part of the operation.