Published: Sun, October 13, 2019
Economy | By

Turkish-led forces push into Syrian town as cross-border offensive continues

Turkish-led forces push into Syrian town as cross-border offensive continues

The incursion against the Syrian Kurds - who played a key role in dismantling the IS caliphate but are regarded as terrorists by Turkey - has been widely condemned by Western powers.

"The absence of USA forces could cause them to turn to Damascus for assistance", said Syria expert Samuel Ramani.

Washington said Turkey's incursion was causing "great harm" in relations with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

"We pray that Turkey's efforts for enhanced security, regional stability and peaceful resolution of the Syrian situation are fully successful", he added. After grumbling about America's involvement in the Middle East, Trump called himself an "island of one" as he spoke about his decision to pull troops away from Northern Syria.

Speaking at the White House, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the US could "shut down the Turkish economy" if Ankara goes too far. "Inspections are being conducted in residential areas". "That's not something we ever would have done to a partner force". But there was no sense that Turkey would do so, they said. The service members vacated the outpost after the incident but returned on Saturday, according to a United States official and images circulating on social media.

McClure said this is not an isolated incident and similar things are happening in other prisons holding ISIS suspects.

On Friday in the Ibrahim sisters' Kurdish-held home city of Qamishli, Islamic State claimed responsibility for a deadly vehicle bomb, its first big attack since the Turkish assault began.

But the military action and violence in northern Syria has raised concerns about a possible resurgence of Islamic State activity. But a spokesman for one of the factions said the rebels had yet to take control of the whole town.

On the Syrian side at least 28 civilians have been killed, according to the Britain-based Observatory, and 17 are dead in Turkey, according to Turkish reports. "Based on all the facts available, these were warning fires on a known location, not inadvertent rounds".

Kurds under attack from Turkey in northern Syria say they will no longer prioritise guarding Islamic State detainees if the offensive continues.

A military vehicle drives past Syrian rebel fighters near Tal Abyad, Syria, October 11, 2019, in this still image obtained from video.

According to an earlier Pentagon statement, Turkish shells "exploded a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have USA forces present". USA officials confirmed Saturday that the firing ended after United States forces reached out to the Turks, but some questioned whether the Kurdish were involved at all.

The battle for Ras al Ain raged as Turkey pursued a four-day-old, cross-border offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia despite an outcry from the USA and European Union and warnings of possible sanctions unless Ankara desisted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday Turkey won't stop until the Syrian Kurdish forces withdraw below a 32 kilometre (20 miles) deep line from the border. The Syrian Kurdish-led administration said almost 200,000 people have been displaced as a result of the offensive.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the European Union - has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Linking to Newsweek's report, the USA peace advocacy group CodePink challenged Turkey's statement, tweeting: "They say this was a mistake".

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