Hundreds of IS supporters escape in Syria, officials say

Hundreds of IS supporters escape in Syria, officials say

Esper said he spoke to Trump on Saturday night amid growing signs that the Turkish invasion, which began Wednesday, is growing more risky.

Turkish forces began the incursion into Syria on Wednesday after the Trump administration agreed not to block the fighting and to withdraw US forces from the war-scarred nation. They decision drew swift bipartisan criticism that he was endangering regional stability and risking the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who brought down ISIS in Syria.

The political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), later stated that she was "taken out of her auto during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions", along with her driver. The invasion also has forced almost 100,000 people to flee their homes amid concerns that IS might take advantage of the chaos and try to rise again after its defeat in Syria earlier this year.

In another development on Sunday, Syrian Kurds said almost 800 individuals affiliated with IS escaped a camp where they were being held after shelling by Turkey.

If the Turkish attack continued, SDF priorities would change with regards to guarding IS detainees and "we will move to protect our cities and our people", Xelil said in answer to a question.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, president of the current Arab League session, also condemned Turkey's offensive into Syria during an emergency meeting of the body, called by Egypt. The league said Arab states might take some measures against Ankara.

Although U.S. troops had no intention of firing on Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, the Pentagon noted they had the right to defend themselves.

Germany will not issue any new permits for any military equipment that could be used in Syria by Turkey; Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was quoted as saying in the Sunday edition of Bild newspaper.

France and Germany announced on Saturday that they are temporarily halting arms exports to Turkey over the country's military incursion into northern Syria.

Suluk is located around 10 km from the Syrian-Turkish border, to the southeast of Tel Abyad. The fighting reached the main highway that runs between Hassakeh, a major town and logistical hub, and Ain Eissa, the administrative center of the Kurdish-held areas.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed mounting criticism of the operation and said on Friday evening that Turkey "will not stop it, no matter what anyone says".

With this latest figure, the Tal Abyad and Ras Al-Ayn districts were declared cleared of terrorists. IS members tried to enter Ras al-Ayn following their rise in Syria and Iraq in 2014 but failed.

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Most of the town's residents have fled in recent days for fear of the invasion. They are continuing their campaign despite pushback from the European Union, the U.S. - who backed the pro-Kurdish rebels, and Arab States, as Turkey accuses the Kurdish forces of being affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara has blacklisted as a terror organisation.

He warned that the Turkish operation was opening the way for IS to regroup.

A Kurdish political leader, Hevrin Khalaf, and her driver were among those killed on Saturday, according to Kurdish forces. Rudaw's correspondent blamed Turkish forces for targeting Khalaf's vehicle, and Hawar blamed "Turkey's mercenaries".

The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army or FSA (also called the Syrian National Army), have denied those claims. Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

He cited an incident on Friday in which a small number of USA troops fell under artillery fire at an observation post in the north. Esper called that an example of "indiscriminate fire" coming close to Americans, adding it was unclear whether that was an accident.

Meanwhile, markets, schools and hospitals have been closed, according to the United Nations, with aid agencies warning almost a half-million people are deemed to be at risk.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish warplanes struck villages near the camp on Sunday. Marvan Qamishlo, an SDF spokesman, said they had only carried out a "tactical retreat" in response to hours of heavy Turkish bombardment.

Turkey on Saturday said 459 YPG fighters had been "neutralised" since the operation began, a term that commonly means killed. Four Turkish soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the offensive, including two who were killed in Syria's northwest.

Kobani is a border city in the area of northern Syria being controlled by Kurds.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper warned of "serious consequences" while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held out the prospect of fresh sanctions.

"Turkey is invading Rojava (the self-proclaimed Kurdish zone in northeast Syria) and Europe is watching", they shouted as they marched towards Chatelet in central Paris.

A similar protest was held in Zurich's old quarter to the strains of Kurdish music.

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