Putin says Turkey's Syria operation may allow militants to escape - Ifax

Cheryl Sanders
October 18, 2019

The announcement was made public as the United States ordered the withdrawal of nearly all of its ground force in Syria.

Pelosi claimed on Monday that Trump actually undermined USA efforts to fight Daesh, by allegedly allowing Ankara to proceed with its operation in northeastern Syria.

He also lauded relations between the two countries, bragging about their - and his own - achievements, stressing that Ankara is actually "an important member in good standing of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

Trump ordered the pullback after a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, prompting rare criticism from senior figures in his own Republican Party who accuse him of deserting loyal US allies - the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by Kurdish YPG militia. Tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes ahead of the Turkish advance.

They have also warned repeatedly that the hostilities could undermine the fight against IS and allow jihadists to break out of captivity.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan defended Turkey's operation in a fiery speech on Thursday, dismissing global criticism and threatening to send more than 3 million Syrian refugees into Europe.

Among them was Kurdish news agency ANHA's correspondent, Saad Ahmad.

Xelil said SDF fighters who had been protecting coalition forces in Syria for four years were now "being martyred by Turkish warplanes in front of the eyes of the allies" whom he said had "suddenly and without forewarning abandoned us". "I can't explain why they did what they did", Esper said.

Major Youssef Hamoud said the two towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad were now encircled after the Turkish army aided by fighters of the Syrian opposition group known as the National Army seized several villages around them.

Mourners attend a funeral for Kurdish political leader Hevrin Khalaf and others in the northeastern Syrian Kurdish town of Derik.

"Trump has helped Turkey kill us", said Lava Ibrahim, 24, as a parade of protesters swirled around her holding posters, chanting "Save the Kurds", and waving red, green, and yellow Kurdish flags.

"Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the Kurdish people", he added.

France's President Emmanuel Macron, at a joint news conference with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the Turkish offensive - over which both countries have chose to suspend arms exports to Ankara - risked creating an "unbearable humanitarian situation".

"We are still co-operating until now with the global coalition to fight Daesh".

Macron told reporters that he and Merkel had spoken separately with Mr Trump and Mr Erdogan to deliver a single, clear message: "Our common wish is that the offensive must cease".

Turkey will take responsibility for Islamic State prisoners in a "safe zone" it aims to form in Syria after its military incursion there, the foreign minister said on Thursday, responding to fears the militants could escape in the chaos.

"Even if we call it Peace Spring, it is blood that is spilling and not water", Mr Akinci wrote on Facebook.

A member of the Syrian Kurdish force says its fighters will not pull back from border towns, asserting that an agreement with Turkey to vacate those areas "will not work".

Other reports by iNewsToday