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Turkey denies initiation of Syria operation

Turkish flag flutters at Turkey's border gate, as pictured on Syria side, overlooking the ruins of buildings destroyed during fightings with the Islamic State militants in Kobani, Syria October 11, 2017. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Istanbul, Turkey Oct 09, 2019, 03.46 PM (IST)

Turkey denied on Wednesday that it had begun its operation against Kurdish militants in Syria, but said its preparations were underway. 

"Reports in some media outlets stating that the operation has begun do not reflect the reality. The operation has not been launched yet," a Turkish official said in a note to reporters.

Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said earlier on Wednesday that the military build-up along Turkey's southern border was continuing. 

"Our preparations regarding the operation are ongoing. (Troop) transfers and preparations are still underway," Akar said, according to state news agency Anadolu. 

AFP correspondents at the border witnessed the arrival of a large convoy of vehicles in the Turkish town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province overnight.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said the Turkish military was shelling its positions over the border at Sere Kaniye.

That is one of the positions from which US forces withdrew earlier this week after the White House announced it was pulling back special forces from Syria's northern frontier.