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Syria Kurds defend key town as Turkey ignores US

Tal Tamr (Syria): Kurdish forces held out in a key border town Tuesday seven days into a deadly Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria that has caused mass displacement and reshaped the political map.

The United States slapped sanctions on its NATO ally in a bid to stop an assault that its own troop withdrawal from the area triggered but Ankara showed no sign of relenting.

Using a dense network of tunnels, berms and trenches, Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been mounting a desperate defence of Ras al-Ain.

They launched “a large counterattack against Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies near Ras al-Ain,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Since launching their assault on October 9, Turkish-backed forces have secured more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) of border, but Ras al-Ain, which the Kurds call Siri Kani, has held out. An AFP correspondent in the area said clashes around the town continued on Tuesday, despite repeated claims by Ankara in recent days that it had captured the area.

Further west, SDF fighters have been battling Turkey’s Syrian proxies — mostly former rebels paid and equipped by Ankara — around the flashpoint town of Manbij.

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