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Syria troops sent north to 'confront' Turkey attack: State media

Syrian government forces drive military vehicles in al-Shifoniya as they advance in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area on March 4. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Damascus Oct 13, 2019, 11.12 PM (IST)

The Syrian army has sent troops to "confront the Turkish aggression" in the north of the country where Ankara is battling Kurdish-led forces, the state news agency SANA said Sunday.

"Syrian... army units move north to confront Turkish aggression on Syrian territory," SANA said without giving further details.

The report came as a Kurdish official said on condition of anonymity that "negotiations" were underway between the Kurds and the Damascus government.

Fighting has engulfed the area since Wednesday when Ankara launched a long-threatened offensive against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who it considers "terrorists" linked to insurgents inside Turkey. 

US President Donald Trump has been accused of abandoning a loyal ally in the fight against IS after ordering American troops to pull back from the border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor reported on Sunday that 14 more civilians had been killed in the fighting. 

More than 50 civilians have now died on the Syrian side, with Turkish reports putting the number of civilians dead from Kurdish shelling inside Turkey at 18.

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"Syrian... army units move north to confront Turkish aggression on Syrian territory," SANA said without giving further details.