Turkish forces push into Kurdish-held Syria as death toll rises

A major hospital along the border has been abandoned and tens of thousands are fleeing south as Turkish forces continue to launch a military offensive into Kurdish-controlled parts of Syria.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkish leaders against the offensive on Friday, threatening a “real cost” to Turkey if it continues down its current path.

“We’re using every economic and diplomatic tool to convince them to cease this activity,” Pompeo said in an interview with The Tennessean. “It’s a bad thing, and we’re working to convince [Erdogan] that moving into Syria this way is putting at risk the lives of the Kurdish people, and others as well, Christians and other ethnic minorities and religious minorities.”

With airstrikes and artillery, Turkey has launched an offensive aimed at crushing Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Towns and villages along the border have been hit with heavy shelling over the past few days, and residents are fleeing south to seek shelter. Doctors Without Borders, the international medical charity also known as MSF, said one of its hospitals along the border has closed.

The humanitarian impact of Turkey’s “Peace Spring” offensive is already being felt. The United Nations said Friday that an estimated 100,000 people have already been displaced and are seeking shelter in host communities, collective shelters and schools.

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