President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the attack on Twitter, labelling it “Operation Peace Spring”.
Moments later, a cloud of white smoke rose over the Ras al-Ain border area, an AFP correspondent said, adding that warplanes could be seen flying overhead.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Erdogan wrote, adding that the operation would target Kurdish terrorists and the Islamic State group (IS).
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported that Turkish air strikes had hit the Ras al-Ain area.
Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported shelling of Kurdish terrorist positions in the border town of Tal Abyad.
Syria’s Kurds called up civilians on Wednesday to defend against the assault, while President Donald Trump insisted the United States had not abandoned its Kurdish allies who were a crucial ally against IS.
Trump was widely seen as giving a green light at the weekend, ordering the pullback of US troops from the Turkey-Syrian border which had served as a buffer.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Erdogan to “think carefully” before any offensive in a phone call.
But Ankara says the assault is necessary to curb the power of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) due to their ties with…