Turkish-backed Syrian rebels seized control of Ras al-Ayn’s town centre in northeast Syria on Saturday, a senior Turkish security official said as Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia in the region entered its fourth day.
“The (Syrian rebel) national army took control of the town center this morning. Inspections are being conducted in residential areas,” the official said.
The Syrian Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria said on Saturday that 191,069 people have been displaced as a result of Turkish military operations.
In a statement, the Kurdish-led authority said the incursion has caused successive waves of displacement from Dayrik also known as al-Malikiya at the Iraqi border to Kobani some 400 kilometres to the west.
The United Nations on Friday estimated some 100,000 people had left their homes in northern Syria since the offensive began on Wednesday.
Car bomb set off near prison
A Kurdish police force in northern Syria says a car bomb has exploded outside a prison where members of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) are being held. There was no word on casualties.
The police force known as Asayesh said the blast occurred early Saturday outside the central prison in the northeastern city of Hassakeh, much of which is controlled by Kurdish forces.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said after the blast, Kurdish fighters brought reinforcements to prevent prisoners from escaping.
No one claimed responsibility but ISIS sleeper cells have carried out such bombings.
Kurdish fighters are holding about 10,000 ISIS fighters including some 2,000 foreigners.
There have been concerns that as Kurdish fighters try to repel Turkey’s invasion, some ISIS detainees might try to flee.
The death toll among Syrian Kurdish-led fighters has risen to 74, most of whom have been killed in the Tel Abyad area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman also said 49 fighters with Turkish backed Syrian rebel groups have been killed.
The death toll among civilians in Syria had climbed to 20 after two people died in the city of Qamishli, he said. Most of the civilian deaths were also in Tel Abyad, a border town that is one of the focal points of the operation.