Second Turkish Officer Killed in Country's Offensive in Northern Syria - Defence Minister

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuat a memorial ceremony at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl for those killed in the Yom Kippur War

President Trump announced this week that he would withdraw USA troops from northern Syria in the face of the Turkish offensive, but he came under heightened pressure Thursday to take action in response to the escalating conflict.

Trump's unexpected decision came as he faces an impeachment inquiry at home.

With the exception of Qatar, an ally of Ankara's, countries lined up to criticise the Turkish offensive.

Kurdish forces are now guarding thousands of captured Islamic State prisoners in northeastern Syria without the assistance of the US.

How has President Trump reacted?

Residents fled with their belongings loaded into cars, pickup trucks and motorcycle rickshaws, while others escaped on foot.

According to the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organization, more than 300,000 people in northeast Syria could be displaced because of Turkish military action.

Ras al-Ain, Tal Abyad and other border towns between them have been nearly emptied of their population in a huge wave of displacement.

Turkey's military assault on Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) provoked a wave of condemnation from European capitals as it entered its second day on Thursday, including French President Emmanuel Macron's call for Ankara to "put an end to it as quickly as possible". At least 23 fighters with the SDF and six fighters with a Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group had been killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war.

Seven Turkish civilians including a nine-month-old baby were killed in Turkey's border towns in Sanliurfa and Mardin provinces.

Turkey's defence ministry says 228 militants have been killed so far in the offensive.

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The official said Turkey had not received official notification, but cited information "from various sources in the field" saying they included large numbers of foreign fighters from the United States, France, Germany and Belgium. I do so in protest of the Turkish armed forces' invasion of Northern Syria. But their claims could not be independently verified.

"We have to be aware of this and mobilize the resources of our intelligence to undercut this emerging tangible threat", Putin said.

The monitor said four civilians were killed in Tal Abyad when an air strike hit the vehicle in which they were fleeing the fighting, while another three were shot dead by snipers around the border town.

The defense secretary said that the U.S. was urging Turkey to forgo its operation and work with the United States to address its concerns through the development of a security zone along the border.

"President Trump made clear that if Turkey crosses a line in Syria, he would "totally obliterate the economy of Turkey" - and this legislation gives the United States the tools to make good on that promise", Representative Jodey Arrington wrote. Cavusoglu said Turkey expected solidarity from its allies.

"I hope we can mediate", Trump said when asked about the options by reporters at the White House.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the launch of the offensive, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, in northeastern Syria on Wednesday. However, the European Union insisted on Wednesday it will not give a penny of funding for it, prompting Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to echo Erdogan's migrant threat by saying that if Europe refuses to hand over money, "refugees will be their problem too".

European diplomats in Brussels have responded cautiously to the idea of sanctions on Ankara, though the invasion has met with unanimous criticism.

Turkey says it intends to create a "safe zone" that would push the Kurdish militia away from its border and eventually allow the repatriation of up to 2 million Syrian refugees in the area.

The exact locations of the detention centres has not been disclosed but a Turkish security official said Ankara believed there were several in the 30-km (20 mile) deep border area where it says it will establish a "safe zone" under its control.

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