Syria Kurds Call Up Civilians For Defence Against Turkish Assault

Elias Hubbard
October 9, 2019

Critics fear the move will open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led forces long allied with Washington who have led the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria.

Trump's decision to withdraw United States troops from the region has faced strong criticism in the United States, including from political allies who have accused him of turning his back on Kurds who took heavy casualties in the US-backed campaign against Daesh (the so-called IS) in Syria.

Critics fear that Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, is simply targeting the Kurds, who valiantly fought against ISIS with USA backing.

News that President Donald Trump has agreed to pull out US troops and allow Turkey to enter the Kurdish held territory, political controversy erupted in Washington, where even prominent Republicans questioned Trump's decision for possibly abandoning Kurdish forces.

"So many people conveniently forget that Turkey is a big trading partner of the United States", he said in another tweet.

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces said Tuesday it is ready to fight against terrorism with Turkey.

On Wednesday, the Kurdish administration said it would hold its U.S. ally and the whole global community responsible for any "humanitarian catastrophe" that unfolds in the territory under its control.

Taking to Twitter, Trump insisted he was not abandoning Kurdish that fought with USA and coalition partners against IS.

Turkey's vice president said his country won't bow to threats in an apparent response to Trump's warning to Ankara about the scope of its planned military incursion into Syria.

Zarif's tweeted his condemnation of the US role in Syria nearly immediately after news of a possible USA troop withdrawal came out.

It could also be seen as Trump being Trump.

Concerning Syria, he abruptly announced a full withdrawal of US troops last December - only to be convinced to leave a rump force of about 1,000 troops to work with the Kurdish-led forces in the battle to defeat ISIS.

"If you are the Kurds, you look at this and say can we afford to have our hands partially tied looking after these people who mean us harm whilst we are going to face some sort of threat from across the border?" a western official who focuses on ISIS told TIME on Monday.

Earlier, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top Republican ally of Trump, threatened legislation to impose economic sanctions on Turkey if it invades Syria.

Some analysts see the USA departure from Syria as a gift to a range of America's adversaries, from Russian Federation, and Syria's autocratic President Bashar al-Assad, to the approximately 15,000 ISIS fighters that the Pentagon estimates still operate in Syria and Iraq.

The Turkish defence ministry earlier said preparations for a military operation in northern Syria against a Kurdish militia viewed by Ankara as terrorists were "completed".

The Kurdish call to arms came as a senior aide to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey's president, warned that the attack would begin soon.

The move would clear the way for an expected Turkish assault and essentially abandon Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces to defeat the Islamic State.

Secondly, Has said, Turkey's involvement in northeast Syria may push the Kurds to reach a deal with Damascus.

The Kurdish-led forces have denounced the major US policy shift as a "stab in the back".

Graham said Monday that Trump's moves are a "disaster in the making" that would empower IS and Syria.

The PKK says it wants an autonomous Kurdish region within Turkey.

U.S. involvement in Syria has been fraught with peril since it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to recruit, train, arm and advise local fighters to combat Daesh.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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