Turkey's military operation in Syria: All the latest updates
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the offensive – which began with air raids on Tuesday – is aimed at removing Kurdish-led forces from the border area and creating a “safe zone” so millions of Syrian refugees can be returned.
The move came after the United States announced it was withdrawing its troops from the region, effectively abandoning the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), its main ally in the battle against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The SDF, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), has appealed to the US and its allies for a “no-fly zone” to protect it from Turkish air strikes. Turkey considers the YPG a “terrorist” group.
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, October 10
Pompeo giving Turkey operation ‘green light’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington did not give Ankara “a green light” for a military offensive into Syria.
“That’s just false,” he said, in an interview with PBS channel, but did not elaborate other than to say that Turkey has a “legitimate security concern”.
Analysis: The potential impact of Turkey’s offensive against the SDF
“They have a terrorist threat to their south,” Pompeo said. “We’ve been working to make sure that we did what we could do to prevent that terror threat from striking the people in Turkey, while trying to achieve what is in America’s best interest: the threat from radical Islamic terrorism emanating from Syria.”
Pompeo said the US was leaving Syria because it achieved the goal of eliminating ISIL’s territorial hold, which the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces played an instrumental part in.
“We’ll continue to be in a position to do what we need to do to keep the American people as safe as we possibly can from this threat,” he said.
Turkish lira steady after launch of Syria offensive
The Turkish lira was steady against the dollar early on Thursday after Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies launched a ground operation against a Kurdish militia in northeast Syria overnight.
The lira was quoted at 5.8671/5.8716 against dollar at 0421 GMT, compared with a day earlier close of 5.8679. It weakened 0.5 percent on Wednesday when the operation began with air strikes.
US airmen denounces ‘abandoning fierce allies’
Major Jason Baker from the US Air Force flew combat missions and provided direct planning support to Kurdish-led ground forces in the fight against ISIL in 2016.
He wrote in an opinion piece in USA Today that the SDF was crucial in defeating the armed group in northern Syria.
“The Kurds have proved time and again their capability as a disciplined, effective fighting force and their commitment to the kind of stable, moderate governance that is sorely lacking in the region… The [US] administration’s plan of abandoning them now would not just be a reversal of long-established policy, it also would be a betrayal of one of America’s few reliable regional partners.”
Australia worried about Turkish operation, ISIL resurgence
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday he had been in contact with the Turkish and US governments overnight, but admitted to being worried about the situation in Syria following Ankara’s announcement of a military operation.
“We are very concerned about what this could potentially mean for the Kurdish people,” he said.
“We’re concerned about what this could mean for the potential for the resurgence of Daesh,” he added, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
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SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies