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  1. ITV Report

Casualties rise as Turkey's assault along Syrian border intensifies

Both Turkey and Syria have suffered casualties, as Ankara's military assault along the Syrian border intensifies.

At least 15 civilians have been killed in the fighting so far, including six from Turkey and seven in Syria.

Turkey reported two military casualties, announcing they had been "martyred" since its military campaign began three days ago.

At least 227 Syrian-Kurdish militants have been killed in the fighting, according to Turkey's defence ministry, although figures have not been independently verified.

The fighting has also forced a hospital which served 200,000 people to close down due to the intense fighting.

Ankara considers members of the Kurdish militia to be "terrorists" because of their links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has led an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years, killing tens of thousands.

The US and other Western countries also consider the PKK a terrorist group.

Turkey said the military offensive is necessary to ensure its national security.

It has dismissed claims its military action could lead to a humanitarian crisis, and possibly lead to ISIS regaining a foothold in the region.

A ministry statement on Friday dismissed the claims as allegations "fabricated in order to discredit Turkey's counter-terrorism efforts".

Away from the battlefield, the Turkish regime have clamped down on dissidents by arresting 121 people for criticising its offensive into Syria.

People in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border with Syria. Credit: AP

Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from the Turkey-Syria border has drawn criticism for risking stability in the region.

The Syrian-Kurdish forces were a US ally in the battle against ISIS, and Kurdish forces claim the withdrawal will only help ISIS regain a foothold in the region.

Mr Trump has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey, while the EU and other countries have also urged Turkey withdraw their forces.

Despite the warnings, Turkey has announced plans to move 19 miles into northern Syria until all "terrorists are neutralised".

The conflict has sparked mass evacuations along the border, with an estimated 10,000 people fleeing the area, according to the UN refugee agency.