CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s 10-day incursion into Syria, aiming to rid the border area of Kurdish fighters, caused deaths and destruction on both sides and sent tens of thousands of civilians fleeing their homes.
As Turkish and Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces battled the Kurdish-led fighters, Associated Press photographers worked to get images out to the world despite obstacles including disruption of communications networks, hostility to international media and sporadic shelling.
They provided powerful visual coverage of the military buildup on the Turkish side of the border, early scenes of troops crossing into Syria and the chaotic scene of a mortar attack in the Turkish town of Akcakale.
Elsewhere, AP pictures showed the reality for families forced to flee the region, the funerals of civilians killed by shelling and children witnessing fighting close to their homes.
According to the Kurdish Red Crescent, 44 civilians were killed and 171 wounded since the attack began on Oct. 9. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human puts the death toll higher, saying 86 people have been killed, including 21 children. Turkey says a total of 20 civilians were killed by shelling inside Turkey, while six Turkish soldiers and 74 Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters were killed in the fighting.
An agreement was reached Thursday night to halt the fighting for five days, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that unless Kurdish-led fighters withdraw “without exception” from a zone 30 kilometers (20 miles) deep in Syria running the entire 440-kilometer (260-mile) length of the border, Turkish forces will resume fighting on Tuesday.
There has been no immediate sign of any pullout by the Kurdish-led forces, who say the deal covers a smaller section of the border, about 125 kilometers (75 miles) and that they haven’t committed to a pullout.