ISTANBUL: Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria continued for a sixth day Oct. 14 as Turkish forces took control of the strategic M4 highway, which connects the Syrian districts of Manbij and Qamishli.
Reaching M4 – about 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of the Turkish border – was a significant development in “Operation Peace Spring,” as the highway connects northeastern Syria to the rest of the country.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the operation would extend from Kobani in the west to Hasaka in the east and go some 30 kilometres (20 miles) into Syrian territory, with the town of Ras al-Ain now in Turkish control.
Turkey has taken central Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain since the start of the operation.
“Ras al-Ain’s residential center has been taken under control through the successful operations in the east of the Euphrates,” Turkey’s Defense Ministry has said.
The Turkish military and allied Syrian opposition forces have been advancing into villages around Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, under the cover of Turkish artillery and some airstrikes.
Besides the key border towns, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), accompanied by the Syrian National Army (SNA) have liberated over 50 villages.
In the meantime, the United States said on Oct. 13 that it will withdraw its remaining 1,000 troops from northern Syria
Turkey on Oct. 9 kicked off “Operation Peace Spring” in a bid to provide border security and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees in the country.