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

Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, People Flee as Air Strikes Hit Bordertown

Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, People Flee as Air Strikes Hit Bordertown

Turkey has launched its military operation in northern Syria, with airstrikes hitting the border towns of Ras al Ain and Tell Abaid.

Kurds have been girding for combat as Turkey sent a large convoy of troops and vehicles to the border area overnight. American troops must leave the region.

He said that Turkish forces, with Ankara-backed Syrian fighters known as the Syrian National Army, had begun to eradicate what he called "the threat of terror" against Turkey.

"As a result we have moved the USA forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety". The AP could not verify the report independently.

According to multiple current and former US officials, the White House's announcement blindsided not just America's Kurdish partners but nearly everyone - senior officials at the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and USA allies in Europe and the Middle East. More than 40 other people had been wounded, according to the Britain-based monitoring group, which has a network of sources across Syria.

He also put the onus on Turkey to stabilize the region and take up arms against any remaining ISIS elements.

Turkey has long threatened to attack the Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate.

Donald Trump was elected on a platform of isolationism and has touted the defeat of IS as the sole reason for USA involvement in Syria - now that has largely taken place, Trump has argued the United States has no need to remain.

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Syria behind closed-doors on Thursday, diplomats said.

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Saudi Arabia condemned the Turkish offensive, state TV cited an official source in the Saudi foreign ministry as saying.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called on Turkey to halt its military actions and warned the EU would not help pay to set up any safe zone in north-eastern Syria.

Once secured, Turkey wants to resettle the area with 2 million Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey due to the conflict in their home country.

The Turkish presidency's communications director urged the global community to rally behind Ankara. In a Washington Post column published Wednesday, Fahrettin Altun said Turkey aimed to "neutralize" Syrian Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria and to "liberate the local population from the yoke of the armed thugs".

Erdogan earlier told Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that the operation would help peace and stability in Syria. It was also ready to embrace "prodigal sons", it said, in an apparent reference to the Syrian Kurdish authorities who hold the northeast.

Turkey had been poised to advance into northeast Syria since US troops began vacating the area in an abrupt policy shift by US President Donald Trump, widely criticised in Washington as a betrayal of America's Kurdish militia allies.

One of the big question marks surrounding Turkey's plans is whether fighting the Syrian Kurdish forces would allow IS to make a comeback. The Syrian Kurdish-led administration said it viewed positively calls from Moscow encouraging the Kurds and the Syrian government to settle their difference through talks.

A USA official said the US military had taken custody on Wednesday of two high-profile Islamic State militants being held by Kurdish-led fighters and moved them out of Syria.

"The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea". Raqqa is being Silently Slaughtered, an activist collective that covers news in the northern city, reported an exchange of fire and a blast.

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