Turkey launches military operation in Syria

Kurdish fighters and veterans protest against Turkish threats in Qamishli

Kurdish fighters and veterans protest against Turkish threats in Qamishli

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday U.S. troops started to withdraw after a phone call he had with Trump.

(Reuters) In this Monday, Oct 7, 2019 photo, Turkish-backed forces from the newly regrouped Syrian National Army exercise during military training in preparation for an anticipated Turkish operation targeting YPG, Syrian affiliation of PKK, near Azaz, in north Syria, before Trump's decision to withdraw the USA forces from Syria.

Turkish warplanes on Wednesday bombed parts of north-eastern Syria as part of the country's military offensive.

Here is a look at what Turkey wants to achieve in the area, and the risks and challenges it faces by getting even more deeply involved in the Syrian crisis.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey to show "restraint" in its operation against Kurdish forces in Syria, warning that the fight against the Islamic State group should not be put at risk.

Turkey considers the YPG as terrorists affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has waged a 35-year-long battle against the Turkish state. Ankara also views the YPG-controlled zone as an "existential threat".

"We have conveyed those concerns and will continue to convey those concerns directly and we will continue to work closely with the United States and others in terms of what, if any, potential response is to that quite serious situation on the ground".

Mr. Erdoğan has demanded a "safe zone" that is 20 miles deep and stretches more than 300 miles toward the Iraqi border.

Trump later said the U.S.

On October 4, Turkey's Defence Ministry announced that the U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting their third joint ground patrol on Friday within a planned safe zone in northern Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish border. How such a massive resettlement would be carried out is unclear.

Civilians ride a pickup truck as smoke billows following Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019.

The 22-member Arab League said it will hold an emergency meeting on Saturday.

Earlier on Wednesday, warning of a "humanitarian catastrophe", Rojavan forces issued a general mobilisation call ahead of Turkey's attack. In the first offensive in 2016, Turkey pushed back Islamic State group militants west of the Euphrates River.

More news: Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed wins 2019 Nobel Peace Prize
More news: 'Kill it immediately': Invasive fish can survive on land, found in Georgia
More news: Golden Knights start strong but fall to Bruins

The U.S. -backed Syrian Kurdish group urged Moscow to broker and guarantee talks with the Syrian government in Damascus in light of the military operation.

Analysts say this operation would likely be more complicated.

It is to be noted that the Kurds are an important ally of the USA in defeating Islamic State (IS) in Syria and they are still guarding several IS fighters who are now behind bars in areas under their control.

Minutes before Erdogan's announcement, Turkish jets began pounding suspected positions of Syrian Kurdish forces in the town of Ras al Ayn, according to Turkish media and Syrian activists.

Before Turkey's attack, Syrian Kurdish forces who control almost 30 per cent of Syria's territory warned of a "humanitarian catastrophe".

"Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years".

Kurdish forces have dug trenches and tunnels in both areas, covering streets with metal canopies to block the cameras of Turkish drones.

Turkey's campaign - in which a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member rained down bombs on an area where hundreds of US troops had been stationed - drew immediate criticism and calls for restraint from Europe.

In Ras al-Ain, Kurdish-led security forces set up checkpoints and stockpiled tyres to set alight to blur the vision of Turkish military pilots, an AFP correspondent reported.

The SDF controls much of the territory that was once held by Islamic State and holds thousands of Islamic State fighters and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

Turkey has already carried out two cross-border offensives into Syria, including one in 2018 that saw it and allied Syria rebels overrun the majority-Kurdish Afrin enclave in the northwest.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.