Turkish army launch pushes Syria, air strikes hit border city

AKCAKALE, TURKEY: Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in the northeast Syria on Wednesday, with air strikes in the border town of Ras al Ain.

President , announcing the start of the action, said the aim was to eliminate what he called a "terror corridor" on Turkey 's southern border.

Turkey had been poised to advance into northeast Syria since US troops began vacating the area in an abrupt policy shift by US President Donald Trump , widely criticized in Washington as a betrayal of the allies of the Kurdish militia of the United States.

A Turkish security source told Reuters the military operation into Syria has been launched with air strikes and will be supported by artillery and fire.

Several large explosions shook Ras al Ain, just across the border in front of the Turkish city of Ceylanpinar, a CNN Turkish reporter said, adding that the sound of the planes could be heard above. Smoke was coming out of the buildings in Ras al Ain, he said.

World powers fear the action could open a new chapter in Syria 's war and worsen regional turmoil. Ankara has said it intends to create a "safe zone" in order to return millions of refugees to Syria n soil.

Erdogan previously told the president of Russia Vladimir Putin in a phone call that the operation would help peace and stability in Syria .

But Syria said it was determined to confront any Turkish aggression by all legitimate means.

Turkey views Kurdish YPG fighters in northeast Syria as terrorists because of their ties to militants waging an insurgency inside Turkey , an influx of non-Kurdish Syria ns would help it secure a buffer against its main security threat.

Amid deepening humanitarian concerns, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres urged all parties in northeast Syria to exercise maximum restraint and protect civilians.

Kurdish-led forces denounced the US policy shift as a "stab in the back". Trump denied he had abandoned the forces, the most capable US partners in fighting Islamic State in Syria .