The Turkish military is working with the Syrian National Army, Erdogan said, adding that they area targeting Kurdish fighters as well as ISIS extremists.
"War has been chasing us for years, and everyday (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan threatens us with a new attack", he added, pledging to defend the area with "all means available".
Turkey has long threatened an attack on the Kurdish fighters in Syria whom Ankara considers terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey.
Syrians flee shelling by Turkish forces in Ras al Ain, northeast Syria, Oct. 9, 2019.
On Wednesday, the SDF said ISIS "sleeper cells" attacked Kurdish positions in Raqqa, Syria, in the early hours, as tweeted by Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF press office.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights reported that people had begun fleeing the border town of Tal Abyad.
Florida Rep. Donna Shalala called Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria "the worst kind of betrayal" of the Kurds, whom the USA had vowed to protect.
Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery aimed at crushing Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday after USA troops pulled back from the area, paving the way for an assault on forces that have always been allied with the United States.
World powers fear the action could open a new chapter in Syria's war and worsen regional turmoil.
Turkey's campaign - in which a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member is raining down bombs on an area where hundreds of USA troops are stationed - drew immediate criticism and calls for restraint from Europe.
Turkey had been poised to enter northeast Syria since the US troops who had been fighting alongside Kurdish-led forces against Islamic State started to leave.
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It instead lashed out at the USA and South Korea and continued to test short-range ballistic missiles. Bolton said during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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Egypt's foreign ministry condemned the offensive as "a blatant and unacceptable attack on the sovereignty of a brotherly Arab state".
On Tuesday, Turkish officials said its military had struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce the region.
"There is a huge panic among people of the region", he said. Erdogan's office said he told Putin the military action "will contribute to the peace and stability" and allow for a political process in Syria.
"Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a long-standing threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs", he said.
Meanwhile, UK and France are planning to call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has urged Turkey to stop the airstrikes.
"With Peace Spring Operation, we will eliminate the terrorist threat to our country". The defeat of IS has repeatedly been touted as the sole reason for U.S. involvement in Syria (as well as occasionally challenging Iran); and now that this has largely taken place, Trump has argued the United States has no need to remain.
He told media outlet Axios that the sanctions would strike the Turkish economy and military and predicted the Senate could marshal the votes to override any potential presidential veto.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump lashed out over sharp criticism of his decision to pull back USA troops from northeastern Syria, insisting he is focused on the "BIG PICTURE" that doesn't include American involvement in "stupid endless wars" in the Middle East.
"The president's doing this completely against everybody else's advice".
"As a result we have moved the USA forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety".
"Wide, deep, and devastating sanctions", he said.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen introduced an outline to impose sanctions on Turkey for unilaterally invading northeastern Syria on Wednesday, after President Trump tacitly gave a green light to Turkey by drawing back American troops at key posts.