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Turkish forces launch military attack against Kurds at Syrian border

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Syrian National Army forces in are dispatched to the Manbij front line near Aleppo ahead of Turkey's planned operation in northern Syria, on Tuesday.
Syrian National Army forces in are dispatched to the Manbij front line near Aleppo ahead of Turkey's planned operation in northern Syria, on Tuesday.
Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkish forces began crossing the Syrian border on Wednesday, launching an operation in Kurdish-dominated areas of the country's north, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced.

The Turkish military is working with the Syrian National Army, Erdogan said, adding that they area targeting Kurdish groups as well as ISIS extremists. 

"Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area," Erdogan said.

Ahead of the operation, Turkish soldiers used heavy equipment to remove a section of concrete border wall so that troops could cross, an official told Reuters.

On Tuesday, Turkey reportedly struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to keep Kurdish forces from using it as a conduit to reinforce their positions, the news agency said.

Earlier, Islamic State militants reportedly carried out an attack on the city of Raqqa in northern Syria, including a post manned by U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters.

The operation comes after the White House announced Monday that U.S. troops would withdraw from the area and allow the planned incursion to go ahead, despite that it would likely target Kurdish fighters whom Washington views as allies but that Turkey sees as terrorists.

The White House decision, arrived at after a telephone call between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sparked a bipartisan backlash in Washington.

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