Weekend Reads: US to step aside for Turkish assault on Kurds in Syria - - PressFrom - Canada
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Weekend Reads US to step aside for Turkish assault on Kurds in Syria

17:05  07 october  2019
17:05  07 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

Canada's failure to repatriate former ISIS fighters and families leading to "inevitable" crisis: experts

  Canada's failure to repatriate former ISIS fighters and families leading to Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria have warned they'll have to limit the guarding of ISIS prisoners as the U.S. prepares to stand aside in the event of Turkish invasion of the region - leavING the fate of dozens of Canadian detainees up in the air.The Trump administration has signalled it is prepared to stand aside in the event of a Turkish invasion of the region, which would be aimed at dislodging the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a U.S. ally in the war against ISIS.

U . S .-backed Kurdish -led forces in Syria say American troops have begun withdrawing from areas along This comes hours after the White House said U . S . forces in northeastern Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault — essentially Contact us at [email protected]

BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Trump’s decision on Sunday to step aside and let Turkish forces come into northern Syria instantly cast into doubt the fate of ethnic Kurds there who have been the United States ’ closest allies in the fight against the Islamic State

Donald Trump, Emrah Kale, Recep Tayyip Erdogan are posing for a picture© Provided by Canadian Press Enterprises Inc

WASHINGTON — The White House said Sunday that U.S. forces in northeast Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault, essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the yearslong battle to defeat Islamic State militants.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Kurdish forces as a threat to his country. Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII

  Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII When asked whether he felt his treatment of the Kurds sent a poor message to other potential US allies, Trump said, "Alliances are very easy."This came amid reports Turkish ground troops were crossing the border into Syria following airstrikes that began earlier in the day.

Kurdish -led forces have until now been a key US ally in Syria , where they helped defeat the Islamic State group, but Turkey regards them as terrorists. The withdrawal follows a White House statement issued late on Sunday, saying US troops were stepping aside for an imminent Turkish operation.

ISTANBUL — Turkey intensified its offensive against a Kurdish enclave of Syria on Monday, advancing troops in a ground assault against American-allied militias there, in a clash of interests between the two NATO allies.

U.S. troops "will not support or be involved in the operation" and "will no longer be in the immediate area," in northern Syria, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an unusual late-Sunday statement that was silent on the fate of the Kurds. There are about 1,000 U.S. troops in northern Syria, and a senior U.S. official said they will pull back from the area — and potentially depart the country entirely should widespread fighting break out between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

The announcement followed a call between President Donald Trump and Erdogan, the White House said.

The decision is a stark illustration of Trump's focus on ending American overseas entanglements — one of his key campaign promises. But his goal of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied by concerns from U.S. officials and American allies about the dangerous voids that would remain. As he faces an impeachment inquiry at home, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

Charity calls on Ottawa to rescue 25 Canadian kids trapped in Syria

  Charity calls on Ottawa to rescue 25 Canadian kids trapped in Syria TORONTO — At least 25 "innocent" Canadian children are trapped in a refugee camp not far from where Turkey has launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria, an international charity said Thursday as it called on Ottawa to act now to rescue them. Save the Children Canada, which has aid workers on the ground in Syria, said the kids are largely the offspring of Islamic State militants, and some of them are orphans, while others have only oneSave the Children Canada, which has aid workers on the ground in Syria, said the kids are largely the offspring of Islamic State militants, and some of them are orphans, while others have only one parent.

US forces in Syria started pulling back Monday from Turkish border areas, opening the way for Ankara's threatened military invasion and heightening fears of a jihadist resurgence. The withdrawal from key positions along Syria 's northern border came after the White House said it would step aside

The Turkish assault underscores the deepening ties between Russia and Turkey — a relationship that has rebounded from the nadir of November 2015, when The United States has taken some steps to reassure Mr. Erdogan. It stopped supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds , now that the operation to

Key Republican leaders in Congress appeared taken aback by the move.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Monday in an appearance on "Fox & Friends" that he had not spoken with Trump about the decision and had concerns.

"I want to make sure we keep our word for those who fight with us and help us," he said, adding that, "If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you. America should keep their word."

One of the show's hosts, Brian Kilmeade, asked McCarthy to try to intervene and "call the president before it's too late."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump's most vocal backers, also weighed in via tweet, saying that, "If press reports are accurate this is a disaster in the making."

Trump, meanwhile, tweeted a lengthy defence Monday morning, writing in all-caps that, "WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN."

In December, Trump announced he was withdrawing American troops from Syria but was met with widespread condemnation for abandoning Kurdish allies to the Turkish assault. The announcement prompted the resignation in protest of then-Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, and a co-ordinated effort by then-national security adviser John Bolton to try to protect the Kurds.

Exclusive: Turkey Bombs US Special Forces in Syria Attack, Apparently by Mistake

  Exclusive: Turkey Bombs US Special Forces in Syria Attack, Apparently by Mistake A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria.A contingent of U.S. Special Forces was caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria, days after President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart he would withdraw U.S. troops from certain positions in the area. A senior Pentagon official said shelling by the Turkish forces was so heavy that the U.S. personnel considered firing back in self-defense.

Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria , pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist Turkish leaders have said the U . S . is not doing enough to establish the safe zone, which could house some 2-3 million Syrians who fled the Syrian

Syrian Kurds gather around a US armored vehicle during a demonstration against Turkish threats, next to a US -led international coalition base on the outskirts of Ras al-Ain town in Syria 's Hasakeh province near the Turkish border US steps aside for Turkey to invade northern Syria , crush Kurds .

Since January, U.S. officials have tried to broker the creation of a "safe zone" in northern Syria to provide a security buffer between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces, but Turkey has repeatedly objected to its slow implementation.

The White House announcement Sunday came a day after Erdogan offered the strongest warning yet of a unilateral military operation into northeastern Syria, as the Turkish military has been dispatching units and defence equipment to its border with the area.

"We have given all kinds of warning regarding the (area) east of the Euphrates to the relevant parties. We have acted with enough patience," Erdogan said.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces threatened to respond forcefully to any Turkish incursion.

"We will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to DEFEND ourselves and our people," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted Saturday.

A Kurdish official speaking on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to brief reporters said Monday they expect a limited Turkish operation and are still working to ascertain what will happen with American forces in the region. The official said the view is that Kurdish-led forces have a legitimate right to self-defence.

Ottawa Kurds calling for action as Turkey attacks northern Syria

  Ottawa Kurds calling for action as Turkey attacks northern Syria Ottawa's Kurdish community is calling for action to stop the Turkish incursion into northern Syria that they say has put their family members and friends in danger. Organizations for Kurds in Ottawa are planning a rally Saturday at the U.S. Embassy to protest President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American forces from the border region, leaving their Kurdish allies behind.Turkish forces began the offence on Wednesday and have continued their offensive against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters. Casualties have continued to climb and thousands of civilians are fleeing the violence.

The Syrian Kurdish fighters also accused Washington of failing to abide by its commitments to its key allies in the fight against IS. It's a major shift in In the U . S ., Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message

Syrian Kurds gather around a US armoured vehicle during a demonstration against Turkish threats next to a US -led international coalition base on the outskirts of Ras al-Ain town in Syria 's Hasakeh province near the Turkish border on October 6, 2019.

Turkey considers the People's Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years.

A senior U.S. official said Sunday that American troops will pull back from the security zone in northeastern Syria, where they have been working with Turkish troops, to an unspecified out-of-the-way location. There have been U.S. troops around Manbij.

The official added that if Turkey goes ahead with the incursion into Syria, it is expected to trigger a large combat response from the SDF, and U.S. troops will almost certainly withdraw completely from Syria. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

U.S. defence leaders have long known that America would not get into an all-out war with Turkey, a NATO ally. But that has been stalled until now by aggressive negotiations by the U.S., urging Turkey against invading. The official said senior leaders never believed that the U.S. would go to war to save the Kurds, but just hoped to put off that scenario.

The official said U.S. leaders have spoken with the SDF and that the group, which has long fought alongside the U.S. against IS, is disappointed and angry.

Mattis and other Pentagon leaders had worried that withdrawal would lead to a resurgence of IS in the country, particularly if the SDF abandon the prisons holding the fighters to battle Turkey.

COMMENTARY: Canada is complicit in the shameful betrayal of the Kurds

  COMMENTARY: Canada is complicit in the shameful betrayal of the Kurds As much as we should condemn Trump for his craven abandonment of the Kurds, we should also look at why Canada hasn’t been doing more, says Rob Breakenridge.After all the sacrifices that Kurdish forces have made in taking the fight to ISIS and bringing about the end of the so-called caliphate, for the American president to throw them under the bus and subject them to this Turkish onslaught is beyond shameful.

The US had for months been working with Turkey to try to create a buffer zone along its border with northern Syria between the Turkish military and Kurdish Turkey has repeatedly criticised its slow implementation and threatened a unilateral assault , but until now the US had refused to stand aside .

A US pullout from north-east Syria could put Turkish and Kurdish fighters on collision course there. Image caption Syria 's Kurds reject Turkey 's plans and say they will defend their territory at all costs. The United States is unexpectedly pulling its troops from the border between north-eastern Syria and

The White House statement Sunday said Turkey will take custody of foreign fighters captured in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group who have been held by the Kurdish forces supported by the U.S.

Ambassador James Jeffrey, the State Department envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group, and Trump have said the Kurds have custody of thousands of captured Islamic State militants. They include about 2,500 highly dangerous foreign fighters from Europe and elsewhere whose native countries have been reluctant to take them back and another 10,000 or so captured fighters from Syria and Iraq.

Trump has repeatedly demanded that European countries, particularly France and Germany, take back their citizens who joined the militant organization.

Kurdish officials have expressed concerns of a possible breakout by IS prisoners in case of fighting in the area. In a recently released audio recording, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on members of the extremist group to do all they can to free IS detainees and women held in jails and camps.

IS was defeated in Iraq in 2017. In Syria it lost its last territory in March, marking the end of the extremists' self-declared caliphate. Despite these battlefield defeats, IS sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in both Iraq and Syria.

____

Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy, Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.

Zeke Miller And Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press

Ottawa halts weapon sales to Turkey after it invades Syria .
The Canadian government has suspended new weapons sales to Turkey as its NATO ally invades northern Syria. Global Affairs Canada confirmed that Ottawa has “temporarily suspended new export permits to Turkey.” Canada joins fellow NATO members Germany and France in pausing military sales to Ankara, as the Turkish army pushes into Kurdish territory in Syria. Airstrikes have already claimed civilian lives, at least one Kurdish politician has been assassinated, and some captured Islamic State fighters may be freed in the melee.

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