"This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded", the group said in a statement. "If we pull out, the Kurds are in a world of hurt and ISIS comes back, and President Trump will own it". A Syrian war monitoring group, the United Kingdom -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported Wednesday that people were fleeing the border town of Tal Abyad, which Turkey is expected to attack first. The SDF has been a close ally of the US-led coalition, with members serving as foot soldiers for its years-long fight against IS.
Another Turkish official denied that the country had begun its operation against the Kurdish fighters.
Kurdish sources reported that at least 16 positions were struck in the first hours of the operation, to which the SDF responded with some cross-border artillery fire.
It was hard to know what was hit in the first hours of the operation.
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), however, said that Turkish planes have dropped bombs on civilian areas, reported BBC.
The Syrian Democratic Forces said the area was "on the edge of possible humanitarian catastrophe" because of the looming Turkish incursion.
The Turkish operation would ignite new fighting in Syria's eight-year-old war, potentially displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
Motivated largely by the aim of containing Syrian Kurdish power, Turkey already has troops on the ground across an arc of northwestern Syria, the last stronghold of anti-Damascus rebels. "The Kurds can't fight Turkey and control ISIS at the same time", Graham told Fox & Friends on Wednesday. Trump tweeted that he is focused on the "BIG PICTURE" that does not include American involvement in "stupid endless wars" in the Middle East.
Speaking in a news conference in Algeria, Cavusoglu said the operation will be carried out in accordance with worldwide law and that Turkey will only target militants in the region.
Graham said Congress "will push back" against Turkey.
The EU is paying Turkey 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) to help the country cope with nearly 4 million Syrian refugees on its territory in exchange for stopping migrants leaving for Europe.
Speaking at a Washington event on Tuesday, Gen. Joseph Votel, former head of US Central Command, anticipated that the invasion would force Kurdish units in Syria to evacuate, but after that a reconstituted SDF might use an "insurgent approach to nip away" at territory conquered by Turkey.
Erdogan discussed plans for the incursion with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He predicted "a devastating ripple effect" from Turkish action in Syria.
Reports late on October 8 said the Turkish Army had boosted its positions on the border with Syria, with dozens of military trucks, armored personnel carriers, and tanks seen heading to the town of Akcakale.
Before Erdogan's announcement, Trump sent out a tweet restating his position that the US had become bogged down at huge cost in pointless and never-ending wars in the Mideast, and USA troops should be brought home.
Graham warned that Trump's decision to withdraw the troops opened the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led forces long allied with Washington.
The Turkish operation meant to create a so-called "safe zone" carries potential gains and risk for Turkey by getting even more deeply involved in the Syria war. The South Carolina Republican said the decision could give ISIS the opportunity to regroup after Kurdish forces played a decisive role in defeating the terrorist group.
The Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria called up civilians on Wednesday to defend the region against a feared Turkish assault, believed to be imminent.
"Such reckless attitude to this highly sensitive subject can set fire to the entire region, and we have to avoid it at any cost", he said in Kazakhstan.
The extremists launched three suicide bombings against Kurdish positions in Raqqa. There were no immediate reports of casualties there.