Turkey Begins Full Military Assault On Kurds Hours After Trump Announces Pull Out Of Forces

Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria on Wednesday, with air strikes hitting the border town of Ras al Ain.

President Tayyip Erdogan, announcing the start of the action, said the aim was to eliminate what he called a “terror corridor” on Turkey’s southern border.

Turkey had been poised to advance into northeast Syria since U.S. troops began vacating the area in an abrupt policy shift by U.S. President Donald Trump, widely criticized in Washington as a betrayal of America’s Kurdish militia allies.

A Turkish security source told Reuters the military operation into Syria has been launched with air strikes and will be supported by artillery and howitzer fire.

Several large explosions rocked Ras al Ain, just across the border across from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, a CNN Turk reporter said, adding that the sound of planes could he heard above. Smoke was rising from buildings in Ras al Ain, he said.

World powers fear the action could open a new chapter in Syria’s war and worsen regional turmoil. Ankara has said it intends to create a “safe zone” in order to return millions of refugees to Syrian soil.

Erdogan earlier told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that the operation would help peace and stability in Syria.

But Syria said it was determined to confront any Turkish aggression by all legitimate means.

Turkey views Kurdish YPG fighters in northeast Syria as terrorists because of their ties to militants waging an insurgency inside Turkey, an influx of non-Kurdish Syrians would help it secure a buffer against its main security threat.

Did Trump make the correct decision?

Amid deepening humanitarian concerns, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all parties in northeast Syria to exercise maximum restraint and protect civilians.

Kurdish-led forces denounced the U.S. policy shift as a “stab in the back.” Trump denied he had abandoned the forces, the most capable U.S. partners in fighting Islamic State in Syria.

“We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters,” President Donald Trump said on Tuesday.

“Likewise our relationship with Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good. Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully understands that while we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency. We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!”

“Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East.

“Moved our 50 soldiers out. Turkey MUST take over captured ISIS fighters that Europe refused to have returned. The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!” he said on Wednesday.

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