Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Turkey announces start of offensive in northeastern Syria

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A strong explosion was heard in the border region shortly after Ankara announced the launch of its offensive against a Kurdish militia.

Time to Reading 3 min.

The prospect was imminent. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday (October 9th) the launch of an offensive in northeastern Syria aimed at eliminating "A terrorist corridor" on the southern border of Turkey.

"The Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army (Syrian rebels supported by Ankara) have started Operation Source of Peace in northern Syria"said Erdogan on Twitter. This offensive, which Turkey has been threatening for several months to launch, is Ankara's third in Syria since 2016.

This operation aims, according to him, "The YPG and Daesh terrorists (Arabic acronym of the Islamic State group)" and aims to put in place a "Security zone" in northeastern Syria. "The security zone we are going to create will allow the return of Syrian refugees to their country", he added.

Read also Turkey says it is ready to launch an offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria

of the "Air raids" but also artillery fire has targeted the city of Ras al-Ain and its surroundings, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH), a sector where a correspondent of Agence France-Presse had heard a loud explosion and see smoke as planes flew over the area.

"Turkish warplanes have begun conducting air strikes on civilian areas, there is a strong panic among people", said a spokesman for Kurdish forces, Mustafa Bali. Turkish artillery fire also targeted several villages in the Tal Abyad region, also on the border with Turkey, according to the Observatory.

According to the Turkish daily Hürriyet, Turkey plans to first take control of a strip of territory at the border of 120 km and deep about thirty kilometers, from the cities of Tal Abyad to Ras al -ain.

EU demands stopping offensive

The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker demanded a halt to the offensive and warned that no European funding would be granted "For a security zone". "Turkey must stop the ongoing military operation. It will not give a result. And if Turkey's plan is to create a safe area, do not wait for EU funding ", he said before the European Parliament in Brussels.

The current UN Security Council President, South African Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, on Wednesday urged Turkey to "Spare civilians" and "Exercise maximum restraint" in his military operations in Syria.

At the head of the Security Council for the month of October, he hoped that a meeting of this body could be held very quickly, noting that it was up to the drafters of the resolutions on Syria to convene such a session. On the humanitarian front in Syria, it is Belgium, Germany and Kuwait.

Donald Trump procrastinating

A few hours before the intervention, the Kurds from Syria called on Moscow to play the role of "Guarantor" in a process of 'Dialogue' with the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while the forces of this minority are threatened by the Turkish offensive.

US President Donald Trump seemed to give the green light Sunday to such an operation before returning to his comments and to ensure that the United States had not "Not abandoned the Kurds", who played a crucial role in IS's military defeat.

If Westerners praise the role of YPGs in the battle against IS, Ankara sees Kurdish fighters as a group "Terrorist" and a threat to its security because of its links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which delivers guerrilla warfare on Turkish soil.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Syria: France worries about Kurds' ability to retain jihadists

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