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The Turkish military and the so-called National Syrian Army (NSA) launched late on October 9 the ground phase of Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria.

“Our heroic Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army started a land operation to the east of the Euphrates within the framework of Operation Peace Spring,” the Turkish Ministry of National Defence said in a short press release.

Clashes are now reportedly ongoing near Tell Abyad.

Prescient Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the beginning of Operation Peace Spring a few hours earlier. Erdogan claimed that the operation will neutralize “terror threats,” establish a “safe zone,” and facilitate the return of Syrian refugees.

According to several sources, the Turkish “safe-zone” will be 30-40km deep inside Syria’s northeastern region.

The first stage of the attack will likely target the northern Syrian towns of Tell Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Kobane as well as the area east of the city of Qamishli.

Turkish warplanes have been attacking positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces along the border since the beginning of the operation. According to the France-Press Agency (AFP), the airstrikes and shelling killed at least eight civilians.

The SDF has limited its response to a single rocket attack on the southern Turkish city of Nusaybin, so far. The Kurdish dominated group will likely focus on ground battles, where its fighter could deal more damage to Turkish forces.