Turkey Invades Syria
Operation “Peace Spring” Sees Turkey Launch Attack Against Kurds
Turkey has begun a long-planned military operation in northeastern Syria to take out Kurdish forces viewed by much of the West as key partners in the fight against the Islamic State.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday the start of the operation, called “Peace Spring” and said it was aimed at eradicating “the threat of terror” against Turkey.
Operation Peace Spring (Turkish: Barış Pınarı Harekâtı), is an ongoing military operation conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces and Syrian National Army (SNA) against the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) and it’s armed wing, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The operation began on 9 October 2019 with Turkish airstrikes and howitzers targeting the SDF held towns of Tell Abyad, Ras al-Ayn, Ain Issa and Qamishli. The date is the anniversary of the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s expulsion from Syria in 1998.
The Turkish military operation began days after the US announced that it would withdraw its forces from the region.
Trump Condemns Turkish Invasion
“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea. There are no American soldiers in the area,” President Donald Trump said in a statement Wednesday.
“I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars — especially those that don’t benefit the United States. Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place — and we will hold them to this commitment.”
Turks’ Indiscriminate Attack Hits Civilians
Turkish airstrikes hit the town of Ras al-Ayn on the Syrian side of the border, local activists said. Smoke could be seen rising from area. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Turkish warplanes were hitting civilian areas with airstrikes, causing huge panic.
Hot Air from UN Security Council
South African Ambassador the United Nations Jerry Matjila, currently president of the Security Council, said the council was monitoring the situation.
“At this stage we call on all the parties to exercise maximum restraint and to ensure the protection of civilians particularly,” he told reporters Wednesday.
“It should also be emphasized that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria,” he added.
Turkey Now “Responsible” for ISIS Prisoners
In his statement Wednesday, Trump said Turkey is now “responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form.”
U.S. Special Forces Withdrawn from Border
U.S. military officials confirmed that they have repositioned about 50 U.S. special force members, who had been operating along the Turkey-Syria border, out of harm’s way.
“Unfortunately, Turkey has chosen to act unilaterally,” Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement Tuesday.
Institute for the Study of War Research Assistant John Dunford says Turkey has been preparing for such an offensive for two years.
“What we could see Turkey attempt to do is a sort of limited land grab into Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn in an attempt to set conditions for a further negotiation with the U.S. and other stakeholders in the region,” he said.