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Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Turkey Begins Offensive Against Kurds In Syria
Turkey has launched an offensive in northeastern Syria according to multiple reports. The Turkish offensive is aimed at seizing territory held by US-backed Kurds operating as Syrian Defense Forces (SDF).
The official Twitter account of the Turkish presidency tweeted that President Erdogan ordered the new offensive, which the Turks, in Orwellian fashion, have dubbed “Operation Peace Spring.”
CNN reported that Erdogan’s Turkish language Twitter account said that the offensive was aimed at “terrorists.” Turkey and the Kurds, an ethnic minority that does not have an official state, have a long history of animosity.
Erdogan said on Twitter, “Our aim is to destroy the terror corridor which is trying to be established on our southern border and to bring peace and peace to the region.” He added that Turkey “will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.”
The stage was set for the Turkish offensive on Sunday when the Trump Administration announced unexpectedly that US forces in the region would withdraw to positions that would not block a Turkish invasion. The US has said that it would not intervene to protect the Kurds if Turkey attacks.
Trump’s decision was reportedly made without consulting military advisors. An official on the National Security Council with direct knowledge of Trump’s telephone conversation with Erdogan told Newsweek that the US president got “rolled” and that the move left the Defense Department “completely stunned.” A similar Trump announcement last resulted in the angry resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“President Trump was definitely out-negotiated and only endorsed the troop withdrawal to make it look like we are getting something—but we are not getting something,” the NSC official said. “The U.S. national security has entered a state of increased danger for decades to come because the president has no spine and that’s the bottom line.”
Many Republicans also condemned the president’s decision. ” “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”
As the news of the US retreat broke on Monday, President Trump tweeted, “If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off-limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.”
It is not clear whether President Trump considers a Turkish attack on the Kurds to be “off-limits.” At press time, Mr. Trump had not commented on the Turkish offensive.