Days after Trump announced pullback of US troops, Turkey launches assault on Syrian Kurds
Ankara (Turkey) | Jagran News Desk: Days after the Trump administration announced that it was pulling the US troops back from the border area, Turkey on Wednesday launched an assault on Kurdish positions in northern Syria with air strikes near the border.
According to some media reports, the bombings hit the town of Ras al-Ain in the northeast along the Turkish border.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote about it on Twitter and labelled it as ‘Operation Peace Spring’.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” said Erdogan adding that the operation would target Kurdish militants and the Islamic State group (IS).
“We will preserve Syria's territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists,” he added.
The offensive comes days after US President Donald Trump announced the pullback of the US military forces from the region. Trump's decision in effect gave Turkey a green light to attack US-backed Kurdish forces, though Trump threatened to punish Turkey economically if it does "anything outside of what we think is humane."
Trump, however, has insisted that the US has not abandoned its Kurdish allies who played a huge role in their fight against the ISIS.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Turkish warplanes struck its region in the northeast, sparking ‘huge panic among people’.
“Turkish warplanes have started to carry out air strikes on civilian areas,” said SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali in a Tweet.
The SDF also urged the US and its allies for a ‘no-fly zone’ to protect it from Turkish attacks in northeast Syria. The Kurds also urged Russia to facilitate dialogue with Damascus and warned that a Turkish offensive would reverse the military gains achieved against IS and allow the jihadist group's surviving leaders to come out of hiding.
The Kurds, along with the help from coalition forces, was able to defeat the ISIS and end its territorial caliphate but the organisation is not dead and its sleeper cells are active in many parts of the middle east.
(With Reuters inputs)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma