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In the latest update amid heightening tensions between Turkey and Syria, NATO-ally Turkey’s forces seized designated targets on the second day of an offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria. Turkish forces said that it intends to create a “safe zone” for the return of millions of refugees to Syria.  

The events occurred after the US forces abandoned the Syrian Kurds, who have been loyal allies of Washington in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said in its statement: “Our heroic commandos taking part in Operation Peace Spring are continuing to advance east of the Euphrates (river). The designated targets were seized.”

The Ministry added: “The Turkish military has hit 181 targets of the Kurdish militia with its air force and artillery since the start of operation into northeast Syria.”

Tensions  prevail between Turkey and Iran-allied Syria to clear the northern region of the country of Kurdish militants from the border. Turkey regards the Kurdish militia as a terrorist group because of its links to Kurdish PKK militants waging a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey, as cited by Reuters.

On Wednesday, it was reported that Iran’s military launched an unannounced military exercise near the country’s border with Turkey.

The Turkish Lira remains on the defensive vs. the greenback amid geopolitical risks while the oil’s downside remains in check.