Cairo: Turkey-backed rebels and Kurdish forces in north-east Syria were locked in fierce fighting on Saturday, a war monitor said, one month after Turkey launched its offensive against Kurdish militias in the region. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ground shelling continued between the Turkey-backed rebels and the Kurdish-led Syrian democratic Forces (SDF) in the area between the town of Tal Tamr and Abu Rasin. Turkish warplanes were also targetting the area, leaving injuries among the Kurdish and Syrian government troops, with whom the Kurds have formed an alliance, the Britain-based watchdog added.
Turkey and allied rebels groups in Syria launched a military offensive in the country’s north-east on October 9 against the SDF, which is dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Ankara considers the Kurdish militants to be terrorists linked to separatist fighters in Turkey. Since the offensive started, the Turkish forces and allied rebels have advanced on 4,820 square kilometres of territory, wresting 13.1 per cent of the lands controlled by the SDF and the Syrian government in the area from those forces, according to the Observatory. — DPA