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Ankara-backed forces reach strategic highway as Turkey pushes deeper into northeast Syria – reports

Ankara-backed forces reach strategic highway as Turkey pushes deeper into northeast Syria – reports
A vital roadway connecting Syrian towns that are key targets in Ankara’s recently launched military operation has been cut by the Syrian National Army, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed militia has claimed.

The strategic M4 highway in northeastern Syria is located about 19 miles (30km) south of the border with Turkey.

Spokesman Youssef Hammoud said that National Army fighters had captured 18 villages as part of the advance.

“This advance was on a new and surprise front... between Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain. On this front, they were able to cut the roads linking together Suluk, Tel Abyad, Ras al-Ain with the villages in the area,” he said in a statement to Reuters.

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Turkey claims that its forces took control of the town of Ras al-Ain, situated on the road, on Saturday. The SDF denies that it lost the town and says that there is still fighting in the area.

The loss of the roadway would be a major blow to the US-backed Kurdish forces that have been targeted by Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.

Ankara claims that the incursion has “neutralized” 415 “terrorists” since the operation began on Wednesday. Kurdish leaders have disputed this figure, claiming that less than 30 of its soldiers have been killed.

Turkey’s Ministry of Defense said three of its soldiers have died in the ongoing fighting, while three others have been wounded.

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