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Smoke rises from the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain as it is pictured from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 9, 2019 - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Car Bomb Reportedly Hits Outside Central Prison in Syria's City of Hasakah

On 9 October, Turkey launched a military operation in northeastern Syria against Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation, and its armed wing: the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkey says the offensive is aimed at clearing the border region of terrorists and establishing a safe zone.

As many as 342 "terrorists" have been killed as a result of Turkey's offensive in Syria's north, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday.

"The operation continues successfully, as we have planned. As of now, 342 terrorists have been neutralized," Akar said.

According to previous data provided by the Turkish Defense Ministry, the number of dead terrorists stood at 277.

Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the beginning of a military operation in northeastern Syria. He said the offensive is aimed at ousting Kurdish militants from the border area and setting up a safe zone where Syrian refugees could be accommodated. 

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23:57 GMT 11.10.2019

A car bomb hit outside a central prison in the city of Hasakah, located in the northeast of Syria, early on Saturday, media reported amid Turkey's cross-border military offensive in the area.

The car bomb exploded close to the prison's external wall from the side of the Al Leylia quarter, according to Syria TV, citing its correspondent.

There have been no reports on casualties caused by the incident.

20:53 GMT 11.10.2019

According to the Turkish Defence Ministry, the military attempted to prevent possible damage to a US base in Syria during Ankara's attacks on nearby Kurdish-led forces.

"Turkey did not open fire at the U.S. observation post in any way. All precautions were taken prior to opening fire in order to prevent any harm to the U.S. base. As a precaution, we ceased fire upon receiving information from the U.S. We firmly reject the claim that U.S. or Coalition forces were fired upon," the Defence Ministry explained.

20:29 GMT 11.10.2019

As many as 399 terrorists have been neutralized as a result of Turkey's offensive in northeastern Syria, the Turkish Defence Ministry reported on Friday.

According to previous data provided by the Turkish Defense Ministry, the number of neutralized terrorists stood at 342.

"The overall number of PKK/PYD-YPG terrorists that have been neutralized during successfully ongoing Operation Peace Spring to the East of the Euphrates is 399," the ministry said in statement.

18:46 GMT 11.10.2019

A mortar and rocket attack from Syria killed eight civilians and hurt 35 others in the southern Turkish district of Nusaybin in the Mardin region on Friday, media reported.

The Mardin governor’s office blamed the attack on Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Kurdish YPG group and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, according to the Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

Two civilians were reportedly killed and two others injured by cross-border fire in the Turkish city of Suruc in the southeastern Sanliurfa province.

18:30 GMT 11.10.2019

Turkey will not halt its operation in northern Syria, despite threats from the international community, including the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.

"We're receiving threats from right and left, saying stop this operation. I told [US President Donald] Trump, I told others - 'stop it' [the US military assistance to Kurdish forces), but you did not. And now we will not back down, "Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul broadcast by Turkey's NTV television.

"We will never stop this step we have taken against the PYD/YPG... We will not stop it no matter what anyone says," the Turkish president stressed.

17:17 GMT 11.10.2019

Turkey's incursion into northern Syria has had some effect on the counter-terror operations against the Daesh* group in the country, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said during a press briefing on Friday.

"So we are still conducting [anti-IS] operations, obviously this incursion that was initiated by the Turks has had some effect," Milley said.

When asked if the United States will continue to arm its Syrian Kurdish partners in Syria, Milley said the United States will continue its campaign against Daesh* except in the area of the Turkish incursion.

Milley added that Turkey is responsible for security prisons within the incursion area holding captured Daesh* fighters.

*Daesh (also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

16:47 GMT 11.10.2019

The Netherlands will freeze all its weapons exports to Turkey after Ankara launched an offensive on Kurdish forces in northern Syria, the Dutch foreign ministry said Friday.

"The Netherlands has now decided to withhold all licence applications for the export of military goods to Turkey pending the course of the situation," the ministry said in a statement sent to AFP.

16:45 GMT 11.10.2019

The Turkish government has pledged that protecting civilians will be a top priority during the nation’s military operations in northern Syria, UN Undersecretary-General and Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said on Friday.

"I have discussed the situation with the government of Turkey," Lowcock said in a press release. "They have assured me that they attach maximum importance to the protection of civilians and the avoidance of harm to them."

Lowcock’s remarks come after he visited Ankara as well as the Turkey-Syria border region.

16:24 GMT 11.10.2019

US personnel still co-locates with SDF forces in Syria except for two outposts in Turkish incursion area, US Joint Chiefs Chairman has said.  

16:22 GMT 11.10.2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks in Istanbul with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the Turkish leader’s administration said in a statement Friday.

The administration did not disclose the content of the talks.

15:05 GMT 11.10.2019

Two people were killed and some more injured after the Kurdish forces carried out a mortar attack on Turkey's Nusaybin border town, a Sputnik correspondent said. 

Two more civilians from the Turkish district of Suruc have been killed in shelling by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units in response to Ankara's military operation. The Suruc province is located in southeastern Turkey, not far from the Turkey-Syria border.

Two People Die in YPG Mortar Attack on Turkey's Border District - Reports - Sputnik International
13:50 GMT 11.10.2019

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper during phone talks with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar urged Turkey to stop its military operation in northern Syria to provide a chance to deescalate the situation and also not put US personnel in harm’s way, Defense Department Chief Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said on Friday.

"As part of the call, Secretary Esper strongly encouraged Turkey to discontinue actions in northeastern Syria in order to increase the possibility that the United States, Turkey and our partners could find a common way to deescalate the situation before it becomes irreparable," Hoffman said in a statement.

Esper also expressed his concern during the call on Thursday that Turkey's actions in northeastern Syria could harm US personnel. 

13:38 GMT 11.10.2019

The international humanitarian group, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said Friday that the Turkish offensive in Syria's northeast forced the only public hospital in the border town of Tal Abyad in northeastern Raqqa Governorate to shut down as people flee the shelling.

"Our staff in Tal Abyad witnessed the town, that was once filled with life, become deserted. After eight years of war, the Syrian people have once again been forced to leave their homes and belongings behind in order to seek safety," the MSF emergency manager for Syria Robert Onus said in a statement.

The hospital, which worked under the patronage of MSF, was closed due to the fact that most of its employees left the town with their families.

13:23 GMT 11.10.2019

One person was killed and five more injured when a car bomb explosion took place in front of a restaurant in Syria's city of Qamishli, according to a medical source.  

13:18 GMT 11.10.2019

Turkish shelling has displaced Syrians living in al-Mabrouk camp in the northeastern Syrian province of Hassakah, the local administration said in a press statement on Friday.

The camp, located 7 miles south of the Turkish border is home to 7,000 displaced persons. Turkey on Wednesday started an offensive in northern Syria in a bid to clear a strip of land along its border of Kurdish militias.

"The administration has decided to immediately begin the evacuation of the camp’s residents. They will be moved to al-Arisha camp south of the city of Hassakah," the administration said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

Talks are also underway to evacuate a camp at Ayn Issa, sheltering 13,000 people, of whom 785 are suspected members of the Daesh* terrorist group, the authorities added.

*Daesh (also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

12:48 GMT 11.10.2019

"Now we see what is happening in the north of Syria in connection with the Turkish military operation... There are certain things that we can't disregard: in the north of Syria there are areas where ISIS militants are concentrated," Putin said at a meeting of the council of the CIS heads of state.

"They have been guarded by Kurdish military units. Now the Turkish army enters there, the Kurds abandon these camps. In fact, these are ISIS militant detention camps. They may just scatter. I am not sure if the Turkish army can take control of this and how quickly," Mr Putin added said.

*Daesh (also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

12:09 GMT 11.10.2019

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the European Union should not yield to Turkey's threats that it would let millions of Syrian refugees enter Europe.

"The EU cannot accept this blackmail. Turkish efforts to welcome in Syrian refugees cannot then become a tool of blackmail for a military initiative that we cannot accept and which must immediately stop," Conte told the media.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a joint press conference with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic after their meeting in Belgrade, Serbia, October 7, 2019 - Sputnik International
Erdogan Warns He'll 'Open Doors' for Syrian Refugees to Europe if EU Deems Turkish Op an Occupation
11:54 GMT 11.10.2019

Turkey will take custody of suspected members of the Daesh* terrorist group who are held in Kurdish-run prisons within the designated "safe zone" in Syria, the Turkish foreign minister said Friday.

"We cannot allow the presence of IS in the safe zone… Its militants cannot be allowed to walk free. We know this better than anyone because Turkey suffered the most from IS, next to Syria and Iraq," Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Kurdish militias have been responsible for the detention of some 12,000 Daesh suspects, 4,000 of them foreigners. The Turkish offensive on the Kurdish-held territories in northeastern Syria, which started on Wednesday, raised questions about the prisoners’ future.

The top Turkish diplomat spoke at a press conference alongside NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who voiced serious concerns about the Turkish cross-border operation. Its stated goal is to free a stretch of land in Syria from Kurdish fighters and move millions of Syrian refugees there.

*Daesh (also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) stand near a U.S military vehicle in the town of Darbasiya near the Turkish border, Syria April 28, 2017 - Sputnik International
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Says Ankara Was Forced to Start Syria Op Due to US Arms Supplies to Kurds
11:51 GMT 11.10.2019

The ongoing military operations in Syria's northeast may deepen the already existing humanitarian crisis in the country, the UN Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Najat Rochdi, said, reacting to the recently-launched Turkish offensive.

"Ongoing military operations in northeast Syria are likely to exacerbate an already challenging humanitarian situation. Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of further displacement, and the delivery of assistance is currently being disrupted with some agencies temporarily suspending operations," the statement read.

Rochdi stressed that military operations must comply with the UN Charter and international humanitarian law.

"Civilians must be protected; sustained, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access to civilians in need must also be guaranteed; and any return of Syrian refugees to this area from Turkey must be voluntary, safe and dignified," the statement said.

In September, the UN and the Syrian Arab Crescent carried out a humanitarian operation in Jordan's Rukban camp to help the families, who wanted to leave and those wanting to stay. About 329 Syrian refugees have voluntarily left Rukban, and "further departures are planned in the coming weeks," according to the statement.

Rochdi also expressed concern over violence in the Al-Hawl refugee camp in Syria, which hosts 68,600 people, most of whom are women and children, calling it "an unsustainable situation" and urging the responsible parties to abide by the international humanitarian law.

11:46 GMT 11.10.2019

According to the NTV television channel, the bullets, presumably fired by snipers, hit the windows of a local hotel's restaurant, where there were about 20 journalists covering Turkey's operation in Syria. The channel’s correspondent said there was no danger to the wounded reporters' lives.

11:23 GMT 11.10.2019

Germany expects Turkey to fulfil its agreement with the European Union on curbing migrant flow, the German government's deputy spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said on Friday, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that he could send millions of Syrian refugees to Europe if it continued criticizing Ankara's offensive in northern Syria.

"We assume that Turkey will fulfil its agreement with the EU," Demmer said, commenting on Erdogan's statement.

In 2016 the EU and Ankara signed an agreement, under which the country was supposed to curb the flow of illegal migrants who tried to transit Turkey in a bid to proceed further into the European continent. The package came with a whooping financial component of 6 billion euros ($6.6 million) to be paid to Turkey.

11:20 GMT 11.10.2019
10:44 GMT 11.10.2019

"Having been defeated in Syria, many militants will move to other regions, where they seek to create new strongholds - in the Balkans, in Southeast Asia and, of course, unfortunately for us, on the southern borders of the Commonwealth [of Independent States]," Putin said at a meeting of the council of the CIS heads of state, a transcript of his speech was published on the Kremlin website.

10:25 GMT 11.10.2019
09:53 GMT 11.10.2019

A camp that shelters more than 7,000 displaced people in northern Syria will be evacuated, the Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria said on Friday.

They added that talks are also underway to evacuate another camp for 13,000 people, families of Daesh* fighters among them, after it was also hit by shelling. 

*Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries. 

Daesh  terrorists pass by a convoy in Tel Abyad, northeast Syria (File) - Sputnik International
Thousands of Militants Staying in Syria Represent Real Threat to CIS - Putin
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