A group of 292 Syrians went back to the Syrian town of Jarablus from Turkey on Wednesday, marking the first formal return of civilians since Ankara launched a military incursion two weeks ago to try to secure the border region, a Turkish official said.
Jarablus, which had been held by ISIS, was the first town captured by Turkey’s army and its Syrian rebel allies in an offensive launched on August 24 that aims to sweep away militants and Syrian Kurdish militias from the frontier.
Turkey has said it cleared militants from a 90-km (56-mile) stretch of Syrian territory and has pushed south. It has also said it would support any US initiative to strike the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, further to the southeast.
But Turkey’s tactics have drawn criticism from its NATO ally the United States and also from Russia, with which it recently patched up ties.
Washington says Turkish attacks on Kurdish-aligned militias damage a US-backed coalition that is fighting Islamic State.
Russia, which backs the government in Damascus, said on Wednesday Ankara’s push south threatened Syria’s sovereignty.
“We call on Ankara to refrain from any steps which can further destabilise the situation in Syria,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر