Jordan calls on Turkey to stop attack on Syria

Nellie Chapman
October 18, 2019

As Turkish soldiers launched an assault on USA -backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria and panicked civilians fled the battle zone, the White House sought to tamp down intense criticism over what many view as Washington's acquiescence in the incursion.

Mr Graham, usually a vocal ally to Mr Trump, has repeatedly criticised Mr Trump's decision to withdraw United States troops.

USA forces have had a successful partnership with Kurdish YPG militia in Syria to oust the Islamic State group.

Trump warned Turkey to act with moderation and safeguard civilians.

During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 Daesh terrorists.

More than a dozen columns of thick smoke rose in and around the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, one of the offensive's first main targets.

Members of the Turkish-backed Syrian Free Army enter Syria's Rasulayn clear the town on Friday.

As the shelling intensified, cars packed with civilians crowded a bridge linking Syria and Iraq. Speaking to reporters in Washington Thursday, Mohamed added that "at least we will not have civilian casualties then".

Turkey has the largest refugee population in the world, and the presence of Syrians in the country has increasingly led to animosity from Turks who blame them for crime, unemployment and the dilution of Turkish culture. Their claims could not be independently verified.

To justify the military aggression, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the offensive was aimed at removing Kurdish-led forces from the border area and creating a "safe zone" to which millions of Syrian refugees could returned.

Mr Graham predicted "a devastating ripple effect" from Turkish action in Syria, warning that Mr Trump's decision to withdraw the troops opened the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led forces long allied with Washington. US officials said the ongoing withdrawal was continuing and would probably take a couple of weeks.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union - has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

"I don't want to say bad words, but a person who is tweeting thousands of kilometers away from me deciding about my people - for me, is unacceptable", she said. The U.S. and other Western countries also deem the PKK a terrorist group.

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That was followed late in the evening by the beginning of a ground operation, the Turkish defence ministry said.

The SDF, led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), has appealed to the United States and its allies for a "no-fly zone" to protect it from the Turkish attacks.

The Kurds "are there to help us with their land, and that's a different thing", said Trump.

Meanwhile, an Anadolu Agency footage showed YPG/PKK terrorists burning tires in Ras al-ayn to block the recording of Turkish drones and the view of fighter jets.

The president said it was time to end one of America's "endless wars" - a sentiment he repeated on Saturday - and fulfil a campaign promise by bringing troops home.

The SDF called on the worldwide community to impose a no-fly zone to protect against "an imminent humanitarian crisis".

"We have spent tremendous amounts of money on helping the Kurds in terms of ammunition, in terms of weapons, in terms of money, in terms of pay".

Turkey's Defense Ministry said it had taken all measures to ensure that no US base was damaged while it responded to harassment fire that originated near a USA base close to Kobane.

The U.N. Security Council failed to agree on a statement on Turkey's operation following a closed meeting.

"It's important to avoid actions that may further destabilise the region, escalate tensions, and cause more human suffering", Stoltenberg said at a news conference in Rome.

But the retired general passed up an opportunity to directly criticise the president.

The Syrian government has condemned Turkey's military incursion and vowed to repel it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the operation and warned of "ethnic cleansing" against the Kurds. Those include 2,000 foreigners, among them two British militants believed to be part of a cell that beheaded hostages.

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