Trump delivers threat after Turkey says plans for Syria op completed

Marco Green
October 9, 2019

The Turkey - Syria border has became a hot spot as Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Turkey was intent on combatting the threat of Syrian Kurdish fighters across its border in Syria.

Turkey says it is ready to advance into northeast Syria now that the United States has begun withdrawing troops from the Turkey-Syria frontier in an abrupt policy shift by U.S. President Donald Trump widely criticized in Washington as a betrayal of America's allies, the Kurds. The U.S. has backed the Kurds in Syria.

The US move will leave its Kurdish-led partner forces in Syria vulnerable to an incursion by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

Basically, Turkey says Kurdish forces are terrorists themselves.

Turkey's preparations for an offensive in northern Syria have been "completed", the defence ministry said Tuesday, after confusing signals from the United States over whether it would allow an operation.

"The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly", said Fahrettin Altun, a presidential aide.

Turkish troops have crossed into Syria, a published report said Wednesday, citing information from a Turkish military official.

U.S. forces evacuated two observation posts at Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn on Monday, a United States official said.

Trump on Tuesday did not say he opposed any operation by Turkey against the Kurds, but warned that "unforced or unnecessary fighting" would prompt "devastating" consequences for the country's economy and their "very fragile currency".

Trump's controversial decision to withdraw troops from the northern Syrian region and allow Turkish forces to move in has faced significant pushback from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

But Trump also threatened to "totally destroy and obliterate" Turkey's economy if the Turkish push into Syria went too far.

"We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters", Trump tweeted.

The statement said the mobilization would last for three days.

"This is one of the main fears of the Turkish Government and the Turkish society", Syria analyst Ömer Özkizilcik said.

Trump made an abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the border between Turkey and Syria, a move that clears the way for Turkey to launch a long-threatened assault on Kurds who it views as terrorists but whom USA military planners and other western nations view as partners in fighting the Islamic State.

A top Turkish official says Turkey's military will "shortly" cross into Syria together with allied Syrian rebel forces after President Donald Trump announced US troops would withdraw from the area.

"Turkey's determination to secure its southern border against the YPG is a wanton impulse, in the prevailing view".

The U.S. move will leave Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington vulnerable to attack by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which brands them terrorists due to their links to Kurdish militants who have waged a long insurgency in Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said overnight it was Turkey's fundamental right to take the necessary measures for its national security against terror threats from Syria.

The top Russian diplomat stressed that both Damascus and the Syrian Kurds have said they are "open to dialogue, and we will do our best to help launch talks on this subject".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey plans to resettle two million refugees in northern Syria, and Turkish media has said the draft resettlement plan involves a 151 billion lira (S$35.7 billion) construction project.

"Turkey aims to facilitate return of Syrians to their own country, to their homes and to their own territories, by providing a peace corridor within the territorial integrity of Syria", he said.

Trump's decision to withdraw troops from northeast Syria has rattled allies, including France, one of Washington's main partners in the USA -led coalition fighting Islamic State. The US has about 1,000 troops in Syria.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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