Published: Fri, October 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Putin Says Turkey's Syria Operation May Allow Militants to Escape

Putin Says Turkey's Syria Operation May Allow Militants to Escape

The Kurds, who have been America's only allies in Syria fighting the Islamic State group, stopped on Thursday all their operations against the IS extremists in order to focus on fighting advancing Turkish troops, Kurdish and USA officials said.

"We have not abandoned the Kurds, let me be clear about that", U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon.

But the council didn't agree on a statement condemning Turkey's military operation.

"We have one of three choices: Send in thousands of troops and win Militarily, hit Turkey very hard Financially and with Sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds!"

6 that USA troops would leave northern Syria and hand over responsibility for captured fighters of the ISIS terrorist group to Turkey.

The SDF have been key allies of the United States in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said the military intends to move 30 kilometres into northern Syria and that its operation will last until all "terrorists are neutralised".

The official said Turkey had not received official notification, but cited information "from various sources in the field" saying they included large numbers of foreign fighters from the United States, France, Germany and Belgium.

The SDF says at least nine civilians have been killed by Turkish airstrikes, while Turkey says mortar fire from Kurdish forces has killed six people, including a baby, in Turkish border towns.

President Donald Trump, whose order to pull back U.S. troops from the border this week effectively triggered the invasion, said Washington would now seek to broker a truce.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters to be linked to a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey and says the offensive is necessary for its own national security.

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In Syria's al Bab, some 150 km west of the offensive, some 500 Turkish-backed Syrian fighters were set to head to Turkey to join the operation, CNN Turk reported.

Trump ordered the pullback after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, prompting rare criticism from senior figures in his own Republican Party who accused him of deserting loyal U.S. allies - the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The SDF, which have little armour and no air force, are unlikely to hold out very long against Turkish firepower in the flat and open terrain they are defending.

"We have to be aware of this and mobilize the resources of our intelligence to undercut this emerging tangible threat", Putin said during a visit to Turkmenistan.

The monitor said four civilians were killed in Tal Abyad when an air strike hit the auto in which they were fleeing the fighting, while another three were shot dead by snipers around the border town.

Pro-Turkish Syrian fighters cross the border into Syria as they take part in an offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria launched by the Turkish military, on Friday.

"[The European Union] could not receive 10,000 refugees and yet they want us to take in 1.5 million", he added - although in fact Europe has been inundated by well over a million newcomers since the onset of the migrant crisis in 2015, which continues - albeit at a slower pace - down to the present day.

Trump said in a White House statement Wednesday: "This morning, Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, invaded Syria".

Turkey's Anadolu news agency said late on Thursday that 228 Kurdish militants had been "neutralised" since the start of the operation.

A video shows plumes of smoke hovering above the Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain on Thursday as Turkish forces push deeper into its northern border.

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