BEIRUT (AP)– Turkey said Tuesday it will go ahead with a military operation in northeastern Syria and will not acquiesce risks over its Syria plans, an evident reply to U.S. President Donald Trump’s alerting to restrict the scope of its anticipated assault.
Trump stated earlier today the United States would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have combated together with Americans for several years. However he then threatened to “totally destroy and eliminate” Turkey’s economy if they went too far.
The U.S. president later cast his decision to draw back U.S. soldiers from parts of northeast Syria as fulfilling a project guarantee to withdraw from “endless war” in the Middle East. Republican critics and others stated he was compromising a U.S. ally, the Syrian Kurds, and undermining American credibility.
Trump’s statements have reverberated on all sides of the divide in Syria and the Mideast.
In Ankara, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Turkey was intent on combatting Kurdish fighters throughout its border in Syria and on producing a zone where Turkey could resettle Syrian refugees.
” Where Turkey’s security is concerned, we identify our own path, but we set our own limitations,” Oktay said.
Turkey has been developing supports on its side of the border in preparation for an attack. A minimum of 2 convoys of buses carrying Turkish commandos headed to the border Tuesday, state-run Anadolu Firm reported. Later, the Associated Press saw three convoys made up of lots of military vehicles, including trucks carrying armored personnel providers and tanks, driving toward the border town of Akcakale.
In the Syrian capital of Damascus, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad gotten in touch with the nation’s Kurds to rejoin the government side after apparently being abandoned by their American allies. His comments were the first Syrian response considering that Trump’s statement on Sunday.
” The homeland welcomes all its boys, and Damascus will resolve all Syrian issues in a favorable method, far from violence,” Mekdad said in an interview with the pro-government everyday Al-Watan.
The Syrian federal government “will protect all Syrian area and will not accept any profession of any land or iota of the Syrian soil,” Mekdad said about the expected Turkish attack.
Trump’s statement has infuriated the Kurds, who are bracing for an impending Turkish attack. The Kurds stand to lose the autonomy they acquired from Damascus during Syria’s civil war, now in its ninth year, and could see Turkey seize much of the area where the Kurdish population is concentrated.
President Bashar Assad’s government abandoned the primarily Kurdish location in northern Syria at the height of Syria’s civil war to concentrate on more crucial areas where the armed force was being challenged by the rebels. The U.S. then partnered with the Kurdish fighters to fight the Islamic State group, at the expense of countless fighters’ lives.
The risk now could prompt the Kurds to ultimately work out with Assad’s federal government for some form of protection.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres contacted all parties in northeastern Syria “to work out maximum restraint,” spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have promised to combat back versus any Turkish assault, raising the capacity for an eruption of new warfare in Syria. “We will not think twice for a minute in safeguarding our individuals,” it stated in a declaration.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the SDF invited Trump to come see the development the force and the U.S. made in northeastern Syria.
” We have more work to do to keep ISIS from coming back & make our accomplishments irreversible. If America leaves, all will be erased,” he tweeted, referring to the Islamic State group by an alternative acronym.
Turkey thinks about Kurdish fighters in Syria terrorists and links them to a decades-old insurgency in Turkey. It has currently launched 2 significant attacks into northern Syria over the previous years. The first was in 2016, when Turkey and its allied Syrian opposition fighters attacked IS-held locations west of the Euphrates River. Last year, Turkey took the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, causing the displacement of some 300,000 people.
Iran on Tuesday urged Turkey not to carry out an offensive, the Iranian state TV reported. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called his Turkish equivalent, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to reveal Tehran’s opposition to the expected Turkish operation.
Zarif urged Turkey to respect Syria’s integrity and sovereignty, the report said.
Iran, Turkey and Russia have been collaborating as part of the so-called Astana group on the Syrian civil war, talks that have run parallel to U.N. efforts to discover a solution to the conflict.
Trump’s statement tossed the military scenario in Syria into fresh turmoil and injected much deeper uncertainty into the area.
U.S. participation in Syria has actually been filled with danger because it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to hire, train, arm and recommend regional fighters in fight versus the Islamic State. Trump got in the White Home in 2017 intent on leaving Syria. Even before the counter-IS military project recovered the last militant fortress early this year, he stated victory and stated soldiers would leave.
Up until the pull-back announcement, the U.S. and Turkey had actually been dealing with an accommodation focused on solving Ankara’s issues. American and Turkish soldiers had been conducting joint patrols in a zone along the border, while Kurdish fighters took apart strongholds amidst assurances that Turkey would not get into.
Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Associated Press author Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, added to this report.