Turkey ground forces cross into Syria in 'Operation Peace Spring'

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 13, 2019

The biggest fear for the USA and its allies is that Turkey's takeover of PYD-controlled areas could see the release of some of the 15,000 IS fighters previously captured by the Kurds and their allies.

The global community, including the Arab League and European countries, also rejected the Turkish operation, while U.S. President Donald Trump said the operation was a "bad idea".

"I think the resurgence of Islamic State is already happening".

The SDF has not given a casualty toll, while six fighters with Turkey-backed rebel groups have also been killed.

In the United States, lawmakers continued to denounce the Turkish operation, calling on President Donald Trump to intervene against it.

Two notorious Islamic State jihadists dubbed "The Beatles" who were held by Syrian Kurds are now in USA custody and have been moved out of the country, President Donald Trump said early Thursday.

The Turkish Defence Ministry statement on Thursday did not provide further details on the offensive but shared a brief video of commandos in action. Kurds said they were resisting the assault.

Trump also suggested that he isn't anxious about ISIS fighters being held by the Kurds escaping amid Turkish attacks, because 'they'll go back to Europe'.

Ankara said it plans to target Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and ISIL militants during the offensive.

According to the United Nations more than 100,000 people have fled their homes since the offensive began on Wednesday. The towns of Ras al-Ain and Darbasiya, some 60 km to the east, have been largely deserted as a result of the attack.

In the build-up to the offensive, Syria had said it was determined to confront any Turkish aggression. A Reuters journalist saw shells exploding just outside Tel Abyad. Turkey considers the YPG a "terrorist" group.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) holds thousands of Islamic State fighters and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention.

As Turkish troops bombarded and advanced into the region, activists and observers have reported multiple civilian casualties.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest foreign ally, urged dialogue between Damascus and Syria's Kurds on solving issues in northeast Syria.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is one of Trump's closest confidants in Congress and a frequent golf partner, has angrily split with Trump over Syria.

The decision to by the US President to withdraw support has been met with wide criticism, including from senior officials in his own party and US allies.

Investors are concerned about proposed USA sanctions on Turkey following the start of the incursion, including targeting Ankara's military transactions and US assets of President Tayyip Erdogan.

"Canada firmly condemns Turkey's military incursion into Syria today", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Twitter.

In 2014 and 2015, the militant group held more than 20 Western hostages in Syria and tortured many of them. "That's what we're looking at right now, we haven't seen significant examples of that so far".

On the threat of mass displacement and massacre in the region, he said: "Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place - and we will hold them to this commitment". "Everything needs to be on the table so that we are clear", Le Drian said on France 2 television.

Turkey began its offensive in northern Syria on Wednesday with airstrikes and artillery shelling, before ground troops began crossing the border later in the day.

Erdogan threatened to permit Syrian refugees in Turkey to move to Europe if European Union countries described his forces' move as an occupation.

Erdogan wants a buffer zone to which he can send back some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees his country hosts.

On Thursday morning, Italian International Minister Luigi Di Maio referred to as the offensive "unacceptable".

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