Turkey pounded Kurdish militia in northeast Syria for a second day on Thursday, Oct. 10. The offensive comes days after a withdrawal of U.S. forces from the area.
At least 23 fighters with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and six fighters with a Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group had been killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors Syria’s 8-year-old war.
The SDF said Turkish airstrikes and shelling had also killed nine civilians.
Turkey, a NATO member, has said it intends to create a “safe zone” for the return of millions of refugees to Syria. But world powers fear Turkey’s action could deepen the conflict, and runs the risk of ISIS prisoners escaping from camps amid the chaos.
President Donald Trump stands behind his decision not to send troops back to the area, saying he doesn’t want to join in yet another war. However, he did threaten Turkey again with economic action, if it doesn’t “play by the rules.”
Reuters contributed to this report.