Monday, 17 February, 2020

Syrian opposition ready to combat terror with Turkey

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham R-S.C. takes questions from reporters following a closed-door briefing on Iran at the Capitol in Washington Wednesday Sept. 25 2019 Syrian opposition ready to combat terror with Turkey
Deanna Wagner | 09 October, 2019, 16:05

A small forward group of Turkish forces entered Syria early Wednesday at two points along the frontier, close to the Syrian towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kurdish forces can either "defect" or Turkey will "have no choice but to stop them from disrupting our counter-Islamic State efforts", he added.

Turkish commanders expect to be confronted by a sophisticated foe after the battle-hardened YPG were armed by the USA and other Western militaries to help fight Islamic State, they said.

But Trump has blown hot and cold since his surprise announcement, also insisting the United States had not abandoned its Kurdish allies by pulling out of the area.

Trump's warning on Turkey's economy on Monday appeared aimed at placating critics who accused him of abandoning the Syrian Kurds by pulling out USA forces.

Turkish military forces, together with the recently branded The Syrian National Army will cross the Syrian border "shortly", Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's communications director said early on Wednesday, as a surprise withdrawal of United States troops made way for the Turkish operation.

"We contacted both the representatives of the Kurdish side and the representatives of the government and confirmed that we are encouraging them to start a dialogue to resolve the problems of this part of Syria, including the problems of ensuring security on the Turkish-Syrian border". It went on to call on the global community and those countries fighting against ISIS "to carry out their responsibilities" to avoid a "possible impending humanitarian disaster".

The Kurdish groups in northern Syria took advantage of the Syrian civil war and their victories against Islamic State to create a self-governing region - which they call Rojava - that spans the border region with Turkey.

In a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday, Turkish communications director Fahrettin Altun called on the global community to "rally" behind Ankara, calling the Kurds "armed thugs" from which the local population needed to be liberated. You ask anyone they say we are not leaving.

The Euphrates Shield Operation, launched in July 2014 inside Syrian territory, was not only aimed at fighting ISIS but also the YPG.

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The Kurds have always been considered as among Washington's most reliable partners in Syria and in the broader campaign against ISIS in the region.

Votel also called the USA partnership with the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces "a model of how we should be protecting our interests", adding the SDF has been a "capable and trustworthy partner".

"Unfortunately, Turkey has chosen to act unilaterally".

In a tweet Monday, Trump said: "If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off-limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey".

Turkey's vice president Fuat Oktay says his country won't bow to threats in an apparent response to U.S. President Donald Trump's warning to Ankara about the scope of its planned military incursion into Syria.

Turkey's Demiroren news agency (DHA) said Syrian rebels travelled from northwest Syria to Turkey in preparation for the incursion in Syria's northeast. "Our message to global community is clear. The main security threat against Turkey is the PKK". Democrats criticized his withdrawal decision, as did some of his fellow Republicans in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

And Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, a close national security adviser of Mr. Trump's, blasted what he called "the impulsive decision by the president" as "shortsighted and irresponsible".

"The abrupt policy decision to seemingly abandon our Kurdish partners could not come at a worse time".

In a follow-up post, he added that going into the USA military involvement in the Middle East was "the worst decision ever made in the history" of the country.