Turkey to invade Northern Syria, says White House
The White House has informed that Turkey is all set to invade Northern Syria. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said US troops “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area.” After a call between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey will take custody of foreign fighters captured in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group who are held by the Kurdish forced supported by the US.
US decision to pullout soldiers has cast uncertainty on the fate of the Kurdish fighters allied with the US in a campaign against the Islamic State group. Trump’s announcement of withdrawing American troops from Syria was met with widespread condemnation for abandoning Kurdish allies to the Turkish assault. The move prompted the resignation in protest of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and a coordinated campaign by then-national security adviser John Bolton to try to protect the Kurds.
Syrian Kurdish fighters warned that Washington’s abrupt move to standby will flush all the years of achievements in battle against IS militants, into the drain. They accused Washington of failing to abide by its commitments to its key allies in a strongly-worded statement.
Erdogan meanwhile, said US forces in northeastern Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault, raising concerns about the fate of Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the long fight to defeat the IS.
“Following our conversation last night (with Trump), the withdrawal has started as expressed by the president,” he said. While he did not elaborate on the planned Turkish incursion, he said Turkey was determined to halt what it sees as threats from the Syrian Kurdish fighters.
The US has over 1000 troops in northern Syria. A senior American officer said they will pull back from the area and possibly leave the country in case the war between Kurdish and Turkish forces spread out. The Kurds have thousands of captured IS militants in custody, including 2500 highly dangerous foreign fighters from Europe and others countries. They also have 10,000 captured fighters from Syria and Iraq.