Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish forces in the northeastern part of Syria last Wednesday. The attacks come days after President Donald Trump announced that his administration was pulling U.S. troops from that area.
According to Turkey, the operation’s goal is to push Kurdish forces away from the country’s border. The Kurdish forces were a key ally of the United States in the fight against ISIS.
“Our aim is to destroy the terror corridor which is trying to be established on our southern border and to bring peace and peace to the region,” said Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a tweet.
The European Union has urged Turkey to end the offensive. The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has conveyed his serious concerns over Turkey’s decision. Raab said the offensive “risks destabilizing the region, exacerbating humanitarian suffering, and undermining the progress made against” the IS.
According to the NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, Turkey has had “legitimate security concerns. However, he expected the country to “act with restraint and to ensure that any action is proportionate and measured.”
Stoltenberg also said that he plans to discuss the matter with the president of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this Friday.
President Donald Trump has also reacted to Turkey’s latest move.
“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” Trump said in a statement from the White House.
“From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars – especially those that don’t benefit the United States. We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments, and we continue to monitor the situation closely,” adds the U.S. president.
While President Trump has spoken about Turkey’s offensive against the Kurds, the state department has yet to issue a statement.
The Democratic senator Chris van Hollen has expressed his thoughts regarding the matter. On his Twitter, the senator said: “Turkey must pay a heavy price for attacking our Syrian Kurdish partners. Senators on both sides of the aisle won’t support abandoning the one regional group most responsible for putting Isis on its heels. Our bipartisan sanctions bill is being finalized now.”
Turkey’s operation aims to create a safe zone. This “safe zone” will be free of Kurdish militias and it will also be housing Syrian refugees.
The Kurds played a vital role in defeating the IS fighters. However, Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG militia as a foe. The Kurdish YPG militia is the dominant force in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
It is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party which has been banned by Turkey. The party has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in three decades.
The SDF said it currently has 12,000 suspected IS members in its custody. Out of the 12,000 detainees, about 4,000 are foreigners. The group has not disclosed the locations of the seven prisons where the prisoners are but they are said to be close to Turkey’s border.