Kurds mobilize in Syria as Turkey poised for imminent attack
Kurds mobilize in Syria as Turkey poised for imminent attack
Turkey will not bow to Trump's threats over Syria safe zone
11 October, 2019, 04:45
In signaling the intent to invade, Erdogan appeared to buck threats of "economic obliteration" made by President Donald Trump on Monday, including possible sanctions.
Turkey had been poised to enter northeast Syria since the U.S. troops who had been fighting with Kurdish-led forces against ISIS started to leave in what Trump critics called a betrayal of Washington's allies.
The US withdrawal from the area will leave Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington vulnerable to attack by the Turkish Armed Forces. "US should never have been in Middle East", Mr Trump said in a series of morning tweets.
Republican senator Lindsay Graham said he plans to introduce a package of "devastating" sanctions to hit Turkey over its military operation in northeast Syria, expressing concerns over the fate of Kurds in the area.
"We announce three days of general mobilisation in northern and eastern Syria", the local administration said, urging all civilians to "head to the border with Turkey to fulfill their duty".
Mr. Erdoğan has demanded a "safe zone" that is 20 miles deep and stretches more than 300 miles toward the Iraqi border.
Rouhani's comments came amid reports from Iranian state television of a surprise military drill with army special operations forces near the country's border with Turkey.
"Strike them with an iron fist, make them taste the hell of your fires", the National Army, the main Turkey-backed rebel force, told its fighters in a statement.
Turkey has carried out airstrikes on the Syria-Iraq border on Tuesday night, Reuters reported, to prevent YPG fighters from using supply routes from Iraq to Syria during the Ankara's military operation.
"We have responded to all the security measures regarding the establishment of the safe zone and Erdogan has no argument to infiltrate our regions. Yesterday, we saw USA troops, but this time they were on their way out of the area, and that terrified people", he said.
Turkey wants to create what it calls a "safe zone" in a stretch of territory along its southern border with Syria that is now controlled by Syrian Kurdish fighters, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG.
Turkish army soldiers drive towards the border with Syria near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province.
However, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Mustefa Bali announced on Twitter, however, that "Ground attack by Turkish forces has been repelled by SDF fighters" in the Tal Abyad region.
After Turkey's offensive began, there was sign of panic in the streets of Ras al-Ayn- one of the towns under attack with residential areas close to the borders.
With tensions heightened, the first surge in violence in the wake of Trump's decision to evacuate United States troops from the safe zone allegedly cropped up in the former IS capital of Raqqa Tuesday evening, with reports of suicide bombers and grenade attacks.
But Kurdish officials have warned that they would have to divert their forces away from guarding IS prisoners in case of a Turkish assault.
The Defense Department had also posted photos of SDF fighters withdrawing from the area and dismantling fortifications.
A Turkish miltary convoy is pictured in Kilis near the Turkish-Syrian border, Turkey, Oct. 9, 2019. "The Kurds can't fight Turkey and control ISIS at the same time", Graham told Fox & Friends on Wednesday.
The SDF, which has vowed to defend itself against any perceived Turkish incursion, called on the US-led coalition and the global community to implement a no-fly zone over northern Syria similar to the one implemented in Iraq.
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