Turkey attacks northeastern Syria
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/09/19, 01:32 pm
Just two days after President Donald Trump pulled U.S. troops from the region, loud explosions reverberated in the northeast Syrian town of Ras al-Ain as smoke rose above the buildings. The Turkish military on Wednesday hit Kurdish areas in northeastern Syria with airstrikes and artillery shelling. Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, confirmed that warplanes have started to strike civilian areas, causing “a huge panic among people of the region.”
Did the Kurds know this was coming? U.S. lawmakers warned the withdrawal would leave vulnerable the region’s Kurdish fighters, who oppose the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and fought Islamic State (ISIS) alongside U.S. troops. Hours before the airstrikes began, the Kurdish-led administration said it was open to Russian-brokered talks with the Syrian government. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the military crackdown, dubbed “Peace Spring,” is “to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey to show restraint, while U.S. President Donald Trump called the invasion a bad idea and said the United States “does not endorse” it.
Dig deeper: Read my report in The Sift earlier this year about why Turkey opposes the Syrian Kurds.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.