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Turkey’s military assault on the Kurdish people in Syria has already become a full-blown disaster. Horrific public executions have also been carried out amidst reports of rising death toll.

Media reports said:

The Turkish Defense Ministry informed Sunday that its troops have pushed 30-35km into the Kurdish-held territory in Syria, several kilometers beyond its proposed 30-km ‘safe zone.’

It said the Turkish military has entered northern Syria as part of the so-called “Operation Peace Spring”.

However, in a dramatic development, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sent troops to the country’s northeast in response to the Turkish military offensive, raising risks of an escalation after Kurdish fighters turned to Damascus in the absence of U.S. support.

On Sunday, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, known as Rojava, said in a statement that it had reached an agreement with the Syrian government to confront the Turkish assault.

The Syrian state-run news agency SANA said soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army had begun to move northwards.

The Kurdish command for the northeast said it had reached a deal with Assad.

On Monday morning, SANA said that the army had moved into the town of Tal Tamr, which is about 20 kilometers from the Turkish border.

SANA said government forces would “confront the Turkish aggression,” without giving further details. Photos posted by SANA showed several vehicles and a small number of troops.

U.S. forces preventing Syrian forces from helping Kurds fight Turkey

U.S. troops stationed at the al-Sa’idi’a military base on the western outskirts of Manbij city carried out a series of their own patrols parallel to pro-Assad forces, warding off the latter and forcing them to abandon the front line.

As in al-Risafa, U.S. aircraft circled above the city, in a clear effort to demonstrate that, although U.S. forces may have withdrawn in the face of Turkish advances, they would not do so for the Syrian government.

U.S.-led warplanes struck a convoy of the Syrian army near the northern city of Raqqa on Sunday with no reports on casualties, a war monitor reported.

The warplanes targeted the Syrian military convoy in the al-Rasafeh area in the southwest city of of Raqqa as the convoy was moving toward the city of Tabaqa in the west of Raqqa.

The U.S. is trying to hinder the deployment of Syrian army in northern Syria.

The Syria-Kurdish deal allows for the deployment of the Syrian army on the Syrian-Turkish borderline from the city of Ayn al-Arab, in the northern countryside of Aleppo all the way to the Syrian-Iraqi border area in eastern Syria.

The Syria official media outlets said that the Syrian army was moving toward the northern region to “confront the Turkish aggression.”

Syrian Foreign Ministry has issued two statements since the beginning of the Turkish operation, accusing Ankara of targeting residential areas and causing deaths of civilians while holding the Kurdish forces responsible for the Turkish military incursion.

Horrific public executions

After one week of U.S. troops withdrawing from the northern Syrian region signaling Turkey to begin the assault, Turkey’s military advances to bomb and kill Kurdish civilians along with committing horrific public executions.

There have been confirmed incidents of sectarian atrocities perpetrated by Turkish-backed armed gangs, as well as indications that Turkey has expanded its offensive beyond the limited scope it promised ahead of the invasion.

The Turkish-backed armed gangs have also killed several Kurdish captives as well as Hervin Khalaf, secretary general of the Future Syria Party. A militant group posted a gruesome video of her execution online.

“Another fleeing pig has been liquidated by the hands of the National Army,” a militant can be heard saying in the video.

A Turkish newspaper described the attack as a “successful operation,” stating Khalaf had been “neutralized.”

Khalaf had been returning from a meeting in Hasaka at the time of the attack in which her driver and an aide were also killed, said Hussein Omar, the Future Syria Party’s coordinator in Europe.

Other reports said: Turkey-backed groups had killed nine civilians including Hervin Khalaf.

130,000 people displaced

While the civilian death toll is rising, more than 130,000 people have been displaced, and the humanitarian crisis could affect more than half a million.

Some 100,000 people have left their homes in northeastern Syria with a growing number staying in shelters and schools following the Turkish military incursion, the UN said.

The autonomous Kurdish administration in northeast Syria said it started evacuating the Mabroka camp housing 7,000 displaced people to protect them from Turkish shelling.

The Mabroka camp, 12km south of the border, was hit by shelling “which posed a direct threat to the lives of more than 7,000 displaced people,” according to the statement.

The civilians were due to be transferred to a camp known as Arisha, which is located further south in a region that has not yet been targeted by Turkey.

Turkey’s 75 soldiers die

At least 75 Turkish soldiers were killed in attacks launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a mainly Kurdish-led democratic alliance, in Ras al-Ain. At least 19 Turkish soldiers were wounded during these attacks.

Erdogan launched the offensive on Wednesday, after receiving assurances from the U.S. President Trump that U.S. troops, who supported the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in the grueling war to defeat Islamic State, would stand aside.

1,000 ISIS members escape

Nearly 1,000 ISIS members escaped from the SDF custody following a Turkish airstrike.

Up to 950 members of Islamic State fighters’ (IS, formerly ISIS) families have escaped the Ain Issa displacement camp previously controlled by Syrian Kurdish militia, Kurdistan 24 reports.

The camp break happened amid a major Turkish ground offensive in northern Syria.

They ISIS members attacked guards and stormed the gates when a Turkish projectile hit near one of the camp walls, creating chaos within the facility.

The captives were held inside a restricted zone at Ain Issa, which is now empty.

There have also been attempted escapes at other facilities, two ISIS car bomb attacks, and a report of an ISIS flag raised in the border region since Turkey launched attacks on Syria.

US troops leave Kobani and Ain Issa

U.S. troops have reportedly withdrawn from their observation post in the town of Kobani in northern Syria as Turkish army advances deeper south and Damascus says it sent the Army to the area.

The pullout began after 3 pm local time, Turkey’s new agency Anadolu reported citing security sources. There have been no confirmation from Pentagon.

The U.S. observation post in Kobani, the strategic town also known as Ayn Al-Arab, came under Turkish artillery fire on Saturday. No one was hurt and it’s unclear if the attack was deliberate.

A small number of U.S. troops have also reportedly left their station in the town of Ain Issa, a Kurdish administration center located an hour’s drive south from Kobani. This happened as Turkish-backed militias were advancing on the city.

The troops were relocated to other U.S. bases in Syria, according to The Washington Post.

Earlier reports claimed that U.S. troops in Ain Issa were left isolated after Turkish-backed forces took control of the M4 highway, a key supply route in northern Syria that runs through the city.

Fighting around Suluk

Heavy fighting was also underway on Sunday around the village of Suluk, northeast of Ain Issa. Pro-Turkish Syrian fighters reported they had captured the town, while Kurdish officials said they were still battling for it.

Ethnic cleansing

Trump made a grave mistake by pulling back troops in Syria, allowing Turkey to launch a military offensive against the Kurds, a retired four-star Marine general told CNN on Sunday.

“There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies,” Gen. John Allen said.

The SDF worked with the U.S. for several years to fight the ISIS, and held control of the northeastern border area.

Since the Turkish assault began last week, video footage has emerged purportedly showing Turkish-backed militia fighters shooting Kurdish prisoners. This, Allen said, is a “full-blown ethnic cleansing.”

The Kurds oversee prisons holding thousands of ISIS fighters, their families, and supporters, and hundreds escaped during fighting over the weekend. Allen — the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS during the Obama administration — said this chaos was “completely foreseeable” and “what happens when Trump follows his instincts and because of his alignment with autocrats.”

Allen is also unmoved by Trump’s approval of $50 million in aid to Syria. This gesture rings “hollow,” he said, and there’s no way to say if the money will go where it should. “Who’s going to administer it and for whom?” Allen said. “Hundreds of thousands are fleeing and the relief agencies are on the move.”

U.S. evacuation plan

Mark Esper, U.S. Secretary of Defense, said on Sunday that the U.S. is planning to evacuate about 1,000 troops from northern Syria.

“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he told CBS. “There is no way they could stop 15,000 Turks from proceeding south.”

Esper on Sunday claimed Turkey would have invaded northern Syria and attacked U.S.-allied Kurdish forces regardless of whether Americans troops had stayed in the region.

During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Esper said the U.S. tried to persuade Turkey not to move forward with the military incursion against the Kurds. He claimed Trump ordered U.S. forces to withdraw because Turkey refused to stand down.

But host Margaret Brennan pushed back on that theory, questioning whether Turkey, a NATO ally, would have actually attacked U.S. troops if they’d stayed.

“You said you’re doing this for U.S. force protection,” Brennan said. “Those armies are advancing after the U.S. had already pulled back, after the U.S. Air Force that had controlled the airspace stopped doing so.”

She continued: “Do you actually believe they would advance if U.S. forces were there … and with the commander-in-chief saying, ‘Don’t do this?’”

Esper, appointed by Trump to lead the Pentagon in June, said he does.

“It became very clear to me that the Turks were fully committed to conducting this incursion,” he said. “The Turks were committed to doing this. This should not be a surprise.”

Brennan continued to grill Esper, asking whether he believes Turkey would fire on U.S. forces.

“Well, I don’t know whether they would or they wouldn’t,” Esper said. “Despite our protestations, despite the fact that we urged the Turks not to do this, they decided to do it. And we told them we would not support them militarily in this action.”

Esper said Trump had directed the deliberate withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria due to an expected increase in military action.

Esper said the U.S. had learned in the past 24 hours that Turkey was likely to attack further south and west.

In a subsequent interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Esper claimed the U.S. tried “everything we can to dissuade them from doing this.”

Complicated

Asked during a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week” what the Trump administration is waiting for regarding sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin would not say specifically.

“Given that we’ve already seen 100,000 people reported displaced, these ISIS prisoners out ― set free ― execution of some of America’s Kurdish allies, what’s the hold up?” host Jon Karl asked. “Why don’t you just impose these sanctions?”

Mnuchin responded that the situation is “complicated” and “developing.”

“We are in daily communications with Turkey,” he said. “We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions.”

″But what are you waiting for?” Karl pressed. “This is a rapidly deteriorating situation.”

Mnuchin repeated that they can impose sanctions whenever they want, adding that the U.S. has “warned” the Turks.

“They know what we will do if they don’t stop these activities,” he said.

People is being slaughtered

The commander of the Kurdish forces reportedly told a top U.S. diplomat last week that the U.S. was leaving his people to be “slaughtered” and that they may need to ask Russia for help.

“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” the president tweeted. “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them!”

The SDF and U.S. lawmakers from both parties have accused Trump of abandoning the Kurds and leaving them to be slaughtered by Turkish forces.

Turkey has long tried to get the U.S. to stop supporting the Syrian Kurds, who they view as terrorist insurgents.

Highly immoral

Foreign policy experts, including Brett McGurk, a former U.S. envoy to the global anti-ISIS coalition who resigned last year in protest of Trump, have warned that Trump’s decision not to defend the Kurds is highly immoral and threatens national security.

While the situation in Syria remains fluid and is hard to predict, the Australian National University’s Bowker said Trump’s withdrawal – which he described as a “feckless decision” in the face of Turkish threats – had already produced a win for IS and a loss for the Kurds.

“Even though they have done a deal with Syria, they have a very weak hand and the U.S. withdrawal means we’re probably witnessing the end of the ambition of an autonomous Kurdish region for the foreseeable future,” Bowker said. “It also means that Russia and Syria are probably unlikely to have either the military ability or intelligence resources to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State.”

Putin’s support to Syria

The territorial integrity of Syria must be fully restored and all foreign forces should withdraw, including Russia if Damascus decides it does not need Moscow’s help anymore, according to President Vladimir Putin.

“All the forces deployed illegitimately inside any sovereign state – in this case Syria – must leave,” Putin said in a joint interview with RT Arabic, UAE-based Sky News Arabia, and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya broadcasters.

“This is true for everyone. If Syria’s new legitimate government chooses to say that they have no more need for Russia’s military presence, this will be just as true for Russia”, said Putin.

“Syria must be free from other states’ military presence. And the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be completely restored.”

US forces have been in Syria illegally since 2016. The Syrian government has repeatedly blasted the U.S. military presence as a violation of its sovereignty.

Turkish military operation is agression, says Arab League

Turkey’s military operation in Syria is a violation of the country’s territorial integrity, the Arab League’s secretary general has argued.

Ankara’s actions constitute an “invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty,” Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday.

His organization, incorporating 22 member states, held an emergency meeting at ministerial level on Saturday to discuss the incursion into Syrian territory.

Iraq condemns Turkey

 

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, the president of the current Arab League session, condemned Ankara’s offensive and called on the League to reinstate Syria’s membership of the body.

Damascus was suspended from the organization in 2011, after the government was accused of carrying out a brutal crackdown on protesters.

Trump is OK

Though Trump administration officials have tried to cede accountability, claiming the U.S. told Turkey not to attack the Kurds, Trump has repeatedly stated that he is OK with the opposing forces fighting.

Sanctions ready

Facing a backlash at home and abroad, Trump has defended his move by saying he did not support the Turkish offensive. On Sunday, he said the U.S. Treasury had further sanctions ready to impose on Turkey. He gave no timeline.

Trump, during an interview Saturday with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, said he would take action against Turkey if they did something “really out of line.” He tweeted Sunday that the “Treasury is ready to go” on imposing sanctions against the country if needed.


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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Turkey’s military assault on the Kurdish people in Syria turns into a full-blown disaster – Journal of People

  2. Alan Johnstone says:

    Turkish Workers Against the War

    https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2019/10/turkish-wobblies-against-kurdish-war.html

    On the vital question of the welfare of the working class and the World Socialist Movement, we urge all workers, Turkish, Kurd, Syrian and others, to recognise their common interest in standing together as a class for the overthrow of capitalism. There are no circumstances justifying working-class support of capitalist governments or movements, including those that masquerade under the name of nationalism.

  3. Pingback: L’assaut militaire de la Turquie contre le peuple kurde en Syrie se transforme en un véritable désastre – Contre-courants – DE LA GRANDE VADROUILLE A LA LONGUE MARGE