In Pictures: Civilians flee Turkey-Syria border |

Turkey says its forces have seized designated targets on the second day of an offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria after a withdrawal by US forces opened up a dangerous new phase in the region’s eight-year-old conflict.

Turkish special forces advanced into northeastern Syria to the east of the Euphrates river, the country’s defence ministry said on Thursday.

Residents were fleeing Tal Abyad and some of them told dpa news agency that civilians who were still inside the city were prevented from leaving by Kurdish fighters.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned that tens of thousands of people in the area targeted in Turkey’s offensive were at “great risk”.

The UN Security Council is set to meet on Thursday to discuss the situation in Syria.