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Hundreds of thousands flee Turkey's incursion into northern Syria

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Hundreds of thousands flee Turkey's incursion into northern Syria

Turkey military operation in northern Syria has created a fresh wave of refugees. 

Around 200,000 civilians have so far fled the violence, some of them making it to neighbouring Iraq.

Turkey tried to justify the operation by saying it wanted to create what it calls a 30 kilometre deep "safe zone" along its long border with Syria.

A five-day ceasefire was declared this week after US intervention. 

"We have no hope about a ceasefire," one Kurd called Mohammed said after arriving in Dohuk, a mostly Kurdish city in northern Iraq. "Planes are still pounding and destroying the country."

During the ceasefire, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia are meant to pull out of the zone.

Meanwhile, there is a security scare over the thousands of so-called Islamic State (IS) captives guarded by the Kurdish YPG militia who've been targeted in Turkey's assault.

Turkey has for a long time called Syrian Kurds who have been fighting IS with the backing of the US military "terrorists".

And in its pursuit of these fighters there are now fears that Turkey's invasion could end up ethnically cleansing the Kurdish population from its border with northern Syria.

Ankara says it also wants to return to two million Syrian refugees — roughly half the number it is currently hosting — to settle in the safe zone.