Turkish army captures key Kurdish city in Syria's Hasakah

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-20 22:09:08|Editor: xuxin
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DAMASCUS, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels captured the city of Ras al-Ayn in the countryside of Hasakah Province in northeastern Syria on Sunday.

The city is the latest Kurdish-held area that has been captured by the Turkish forces since the beginning of the Turkish assault in northern Syria 11 days ago, state news agency SANA said.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) withdrew from Ras al-Ayn, according to the report.

The Turkish forces have been besieging the city for days, after Ankara launched a wide-scale assault in northern Syria on Oct. 9 to eliminate the Kurdish forces, impose a safe zone and resettle millions of Syrian refugees.

Ras al-Ayn, near the Turkish border, is part of the safe zone that Ankara is planning to create in northeastern Syria.

The city is 85 km from the provincial capital of Hasakah and is around 23,000 square km. It contains historic sites.

The inhabitants of the city is a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians and Turkmens among others.

It's worth noting that the United States has started withdrawing from areas in northeastern Syria since Turkey launched a military campaign against the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in the region on Oct. 9.

In tandem with the Turkish assault, the Kurdish-led SDF and the Syrian army reached a Russian-backed deal earlier this week for the army to assume certain Kurdish-held areas to counter the Turkish attack.

The United States and Turkey on Oct. 17 reached an agreement on imposing a five-day truce to build a safe zone in northern Syria, where the Turkish forces had been fighting against the Kurdish militia.

On Friday, Kurdish forces urged the United States and international organizations, such as the United Nations and Arab League, to send observers to monitor the truce, citing what it said was Turkey's violation of the truce deal.

The desired Turkish safe zone is 32 km deep into Syrian territory and running 480 km along the border.