Fighting in Northern Syria Continues Despite Ceasefire

Kurdish-held Syrian town was shelled
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 18, 2019 5:13 AM CDT
Kurdish-Held Syrian Town Shelled Despite Ceasefire
In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by shelling by Turkish forces, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Fighting continued Friday morning in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a US-brokered ceasefire that went into effect overnight. Shelling and gunfire could be heard in and around Ras al-Ayn as smoke billowed from locations near the border with Turkey and the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, the AP reports. The fighting died down by mid-morning while smoke continued to rise. Elsewhere along the border calm seemed to prevail, with no fighting heard from Ras al-Ayn to Tal Abyad, a Syrian border town about 60 miles to the west.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported intermittent clashes in Ras al-Ayn but relative calm elsewhere since Thursday night, when Turkey and the US agreed to a five-day ceasefire to halt the Turkish offensive against Kurdish-led forces in the region. The agreement requires the Kurdish fighters to vacate a swath of territory in Syria along the Turkish border, which would largely solidify the position Turkey has gained after days of fighting. The shelling Friday came even after the commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria, Mazloum Abdi, told Kurdish TV late on Thursday: "We will do whatever we can for the success of the ceasefire agreement." But one Kurdish official, Razan Hiddo, declared that the Kurdish people would refuse to live under Turkish occupation. (More Syria stories.)

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