Turkey has launched a ground offensive in northern Syria, hours after its warplanes and artillery began hitting territory held by Kurdish-led forces.
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.
Turkish attack arrived after U.S. President Donald J. Trump gave the green light to Turkish President Erdogan on Tuesday.
“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. Likewise our relationship with Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good. Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully good health, at my request, Pastor Brunson, who had many years of a long prison term remaining. Also remember, and importantly, that Turkey is an important member in good standing of NATO,” Trump wrote in a tweet on the 8th October.
The US move has been seen by the Kurds as a “stab in the back” as defined by one of the SDF Spokesperson Kino Gabriel.
“The difficulty we are going through is this, that we have partnered in dignity and clarity and friendship with American forces for 5 years and it is really hard for us to accept an end to this partnership in an unworthy way,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali told VOA’s Kurdish service.
In an earlier statement, Mr Trump – who had threatened to “obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it went “off limits” – said the US did not “endorse this attack”, calling the operation a “bad idea”.
Leaders of the Kurdish-led military forces, the S.D.F., have alerted that the Turkish attack could undermine the level of security in the area, i.e. giving the possibility of ISIS sleeping cells to re-organize in Syria.
According to the first reports coming from the North of Syria, Turkish aviation already bombed prisons where ISIS jihadists were imprisoned. “The bombing of the prison is an attempt by Turkey to cause chaos in order to help the inmates escape the prison,” a SDF officer said.