NORTHEAST SYRIA - A total of sixty-four Syrian rebels fighting alongside Turkish forces have been killed in the offensive which began last week.
The rebels known as the Syrian National Army (SNA) comprises various opposition groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime, and now, together with Turkey are battling against Kurdish troops.
Eighteen Syrian National Army soldiers were killed on Wednesday, according to Turkey's Anadolu Agency.
Another 187 SNA troops have been injured as a result of the Turkish offensive, which the Turks are calling Operation Peace Spring.
Turkey has designated the Kurdish forces, principally YPG/PKK fighters, as terrorists, notwithstanding they have been fighting alongside U.S. troops against ISIS.
Turkey says the aim of Operation Peace Spring, which began on 9 October 2019, is 'to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.'
Turkey has claimed it has 'neutralized 673 YPG/PKK 'terrorists,' which has caused a storm in the U.S. Congress which has been outraged by the Trump administration's green-lighting of the operation, and the abandonment of the Kurds.
Clashes between Turkish forces and the SNA against the Kurish forces are continuing in various parts of the Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn districts along the Syrian-Turkish border, despite a so-called ceasefire or 'pause' that was supposedly agreed on Thursday night between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
"All military operations will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal," Mr Pence said Thursday night.
"This also includes an agreement by Turkey to engage in no military action against the community of Kobani."
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu however characterized the 'agreement' differently.
"We will pause the operation for 120 hours in order for the terrorists to leave," he said Thursday night. "We will only stop the operation if our conditions are met."
(Photo credit: Anas Alkharboutli/DPA/PA Images).