100 000 flee homes following Turkey's incursion into northeastern Syria

More than 100,000 people from the towns of Ras Al-Ayn and Tal Abyad have been displaced by the escalation of violence in Syria, the UN World Food Programme said on Saturday. The World Food Programme and its partners will still support people in the northeast despite a deterioration in the security situation, it said. About 580,000 of the people it feeds in the region are currently living in Kurdish-controlled areas.

Meanwhile on Saturday the Turkey's Defence Ministry said its forces have captured the key Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain. The town sits on a major supply and transport route between the urban centres of Tal Abyad to its west and Qamishli to its east, controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, disputed the ministry's claim, saying that while Turkish forces and their allies have entered Ras al-Ain, the town has yet to come under their full control.

Western allies have criticized Turkey's operation inside Syria, saying it risks sparking a severe humanitarian crisis as well as reviving the Islamic State extremist group in the area. The US even threatened Turkey with sanctions. But Ankara called criticism of its action "black propaganda". Turkey started its incursion on Wednesday, saying it is targeting Islamic State extremists and Kurdish militias.

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