Turkish forces continued their military push in northern Syria for a second day as reports said more than 100 people have been killed in the fighting.

At least 16 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed Kurdish militia that had been battling Islamic State militants in the region, have been killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech Thursday that “Operation Peace Spring” is continuing and “109 terrorists have been killed so far,” according to Reuters.

Ankara believes the Kurdish fighters are aligned with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units — known as YPG — who are waging an insurgency inside Turkey and considers them terrorists.

Turkey launched the assault with airstrikes and artillery Wednesday after the US withdrew US troops from the territory following a phone call between President Trump and Erdogan on Sunday.

The operation has been widely condemned by bipartisan members of Congress as well as world leaders, who fear Turkey’s incursion could create a mass humanitarian crisis for the hundreds of thousands of civilians trying to flee the fighting.

There is also concern that captured ISIS terrorists could escape the prisons where they are being held by the Kurdish forces.

Turkish soldiers stand at the border with Syria in Akcakale.
Turkish soldiers stand at the border with Syria in Akcakale.AP

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump loyalist who broke with the president over the operation and called the decision to allow Turkey free rein to enter Syria a betrayal of an ally, implored the president to reverse course.

“America is better than this. Please stand up to Turkey, Mr. President,” the South Carolina Republican said in a tweet.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Trump sowed doubt about the relationship between the US and the Kurds.

“They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, for example,” the president said. “They’re there to help us with their land, and that’s a different thing.”

More than 11,000 Kurds have died in the fight against ISIS.

With Post wires