Explosions shake Syria’s Ras al-Ain on Turkish border

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Several large explosions on Wednesday rocked the northeast Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, on the border across from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar.

Smoke could be seen rising from buildings in Ras al-Ain.

As the blasts occurred, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had launched its planned military operation in northeast Syria.

Turkish military targeted 16 positions with airstrikes and artillery shelling, says Al Arabiya’s correspondent.

A witness in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad told Reuters that sounds of explosions rang out and smoke was rising nearby along the border with Turkey, as people fled the town en masse.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) appealed to the United States and its allies on Wednesday for a “no fly zone” to protect it from Turkish attacks in northeast Syria.

“The SDF showed good faith to the security mechanism agreement between the US and Turkey. This left our people defenseless,” it said.

Turkish howitzers started hitting bases and ammunition depots of the Kurdish YPG militia on Wednesday after Turkey launched an offensive targeting the group in northeast Syria, a Turkish security source said.

The source said the howitzer strikes, which also targeted YPG gun and sniper positions, were aimed at sites far from residential areas.