Attack against the US allies comes after Washington announced pullback of its troops from region
Turkey’s air force launched late Monday an offensive against Kurdish targets in northeast Syria, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported, following a US decision to withdraw troops from the region.
Hebrew media reported that according to Kurdish sources, the strikes targeted a Kurdish base in western Iraq near the Syrian border, in an attempt to withhold supply and logistics from Kurds in eastern Syria.
The attack comes despite warnings from the international community and the Pentagon against such an operation.
France urged Turkey to “avoid any initiative” that could harm the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria, while the Pentagon issued a statement, saying “The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey — as did the president — that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria.”
However, on Monday morning, US President Donald Trump asserted in a series of tweets that “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria.”
After drawing relentless criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike, the US leader seemed to retract from his initial statement, writing on Twitter that “If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his army was ready to launch operations to thwart Kurdish militants “at any moment.”
“There is a phrase that we always say: we can come any night without warning,” Erdogan told reporters. “It is absolutely out of the question for us to further tolerate the threats from these terrorist groups,” he said, referring to Kurdish militants.