Why Turkey wants to invade the Kurdish region in north-eastern Syria

US and Turkish military forces conducting the third ground combined joint patrol in northeast Syria

US and Turkish military forces conducting the third ground combined joint patrol in northeast Syria

A senior Turkish official said Wednesday that Turkey's troops would "shortly" cross into Syria, together with allied Syrian rebel forces to battle the Kurdish fighters and also the Islamic State group.

These facilities are now controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US -backed alliance comprised mostly of Kurdish fighting units known as the YPG, which were instrumental in routing ISIS from its Syrian strongholds.

In a follow-up post, he added that going into the U.S. military involvement in the Middle East was "the worst decision ever made in the history" of the country.

Turkey says it has finalised preparations for a military push into northeast Syria, after the United States began pulling back troops from the Turkey-Syria frontier area in a move widely criticized in Washington as a betrayal of America's allies.

It could also be seen as Trump being Trump.

"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.

"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 said in a tweet, a day after he was being slammed by his opponents and allies including Indian-American Nikki Haley, his former envoy to the UN.

"I agree with President Trump's objective to not be bogged down in the Middle East, to bring our men and women home, and we really need to be looking at the rising threat of China", McSally said on "The Story with Martha MacCallum" Tuesday.

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In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Turkish Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said the United States has borne the brunt of the anti-Daesh campaign for a long while. On Monday, Erdogan said US troops had started to withdraw after a phone call he had with Trump, adding that talks between Turkish and USA officials on the matter would continue. "The interests of the Kurds should not take precedence over US interests. nor be used as a pretext to keep troops in Syria forever".

In Raqqa-formerly the group's de facto capital-on Wednesday, for example, several ISIS fighters attacked SDF positions, likely spurred on by the imminent Turkish offensive. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said in a statement Monday, noting that the president "took this step against the advice of our diplomats and military leaders".

In a letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Christopher Coons criticized the decision, saying it would have "severe outcome for our strategic national interests".

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.

The statement went on to say that "The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation", and that US forces, "having defeated the ISIS territorial 'Caliphate, ' will no longer be in the immediate area". "We haven't done so in Jarablus when we fought against Daesh and eliminated 3,000 terrorists there...or when we entered Afrin, we have not occupied any part of Syria, we have returned those places to the local owners and residents, we have no intention of occupying any parts of Syria in the east of the Euphrates either, and also we have no interest in changing the demographics there".

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Russia's security council on Tuesday.

The Hamza Brigade rebels from the National Army, the main rebel grouping that Turkey supports in northwest Syria, travelled in a convoy of buses accompanied by trucks loaded with ammunition, DHA said.

Amid a wave of backlash from both Republicans and Democrats, Trump defended the decision because he says he was voted to stop US involvement in "endless wars". Erdogan has chastised Washington for backing the Kurds, but he only pushed ahead with the operation after Trump reversed years of USA policy.

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