The Turkish military has fully engaged in the invasion of Northern Syria.

Preparations for the offensive began in early October, starting with the withdrawal of American forces from positions near the Turkish border, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a phone call with United States President Donald Trump about plans for a military operation against SDF-held areas east of the Euphrates river.

Syria’s Kurdish militant YPG group, is the target in this invasion. The Syrian Democratic Forces is militarily led by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a mostly Kurdish militia.

Turkey sees the YPG as a threat due to its link to the separatist PKK, another Kurdish group the Turkish government been battling for decades. It’s considered a terrorist organisation by the U.S. and the European Union.

While the United States government has stated it does not support the Turkish-led offensive, the White House also announced on the 6th of October 2019 that it would not interfere.

The operation began as we reported yesterday, with Turkish airstrikes and howitzers targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces held towns of Tell Abyad, Ras al-Ayn where thousands of people were reported to have fled the town, Ain Issa and Qamishli.

The date is reportedly the anniversary of the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s expulsion from Syria in 1998, by the government of Hafez al-Assad.

In response to the cross-border shelling, SDF’s spokesman claimed that Turkey was targeting civilians. Six rockets were later launched at the Turkish city of Nusaybin as a response by the PKK, and two reportedly hit the Turkish town Ceylanpınar. According to local media, the SDF also announced in response to the start of the Turkish operation they would be halting anti-Islamic State operations, and that two civilians had been killed.

By the end of the day, the Turkish military announced that the ground phase of the operation had begun from three points – including Tell Abyad.

Before dawn this morning and after limited incursions yesterday, the Turkish military officially began the main ground offensive against SDF; they also announced that they had hit 181 targets in northern Syria, and 14,000 rebels backed by Turkey are also reportedly taking part in the Turkish-led offensive.

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geoff
geoff
11 months ago

I feel a sympathy for the Kurds-a proud nation spread over three states with no country of their own but trying to untangle the cross loyalties, politics and agendas of the various groups is near impossible. Intuitively I think Trump erred in pulling out the small number of US troops and thus precipitating the start of hostilities. I also find it hard to understand Erdogan’s assertion that he has invaded the area to secure peace!!?? Finally-whilst the whole Middle East is a mess, in the case of Syria, most of the current devastation and suffering lies at the door of… Read more »

HF
HF
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Even Trump supporters are aghast at his decision.

MattW
MattW
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

Im actually beginning to think we should all pull out of the middle east, just leave them to it. Come back in 50 years and see whats left. Im not sure why we always want to put our guys in harms way for an area of the planet that no matter how many deaths will never change. You cant change a relgion/ideology etc through violence. It needs education to bring them in the modern age and move them away from the issues that are passed from parent to child.

Steve
Steve
11 months ago
Reply to  MattW

I think we should have done this long ago, but we won’t for a number of reasons, none of them really valid.

1. oil, a large part of the worlds oil comes from the region
2. gas, there are a number of key pipelines through the region
3. trade, shipping has to go via the region

I suspect just pulling out and leaving them to it would probably not upset any of the above but who really knows.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve

or even cares anymore?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
11 months ago
Reply to  MattW

Currently reading Dan Jones’ Crusaders. Your ‘beginning to think’ had some very old echoes among those who were evidently not quite as religious as we’re led to believe!

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

hypocrisy is all they have say this, but don’t do that its all misguided religious pushed by mullahs who are out of their depth

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  MattW

we could back in five hundred years and nothing will have changed

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

HF
Neocons are aghast. I have never been one and neither has most of Trumps wing of the Party. All I care about is leaving. My country does not owe indentured servitude to the Kurds.

geoff
geoff
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

THE USA is de facto the worlds leading nation. With that comes responsibilities often that we could do without, but that go with the territory. Even little old pacifist neutral Ireland knows this and contributes to peacekeeping forces. What you don’t owe the Kurds is not the point. The point is that the consequences could cost the USA and all of us very dearly. Trump shoots from the hip and 5 minutes later changes his mind. He is a dangerous man unfit to lead the worlds top nation.

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Responsibilities? The responsibility of the President is to the American people and to the defense of the Republic. If Ireland wants to expend blood and treasure that is their choice. It is not however the choice of the American people who have wanted to leave for a LONG time. As for President Trump being a dangerous and unfit man? Less so than the Neocons and Neolibs who haven’t ever seen a regime they didn’t want to change.

geoff
geoff
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

Elliot-the USA has more personnel spread over more bases worldwide than any other nation. Trump may well reduce this situation slightly but the USA has worldwide responsibilities like it or not. It has and will maintain for many years troops in Japan,South Korea, Germany,Australia, the UK etc.. The world is inexorably intertwined and a simplistic statement that the President only has responsibility for the American people is naïve in the extreme. membership of Nato, the 5 Nations, the Special relationship etc. on their own make the USA partly responsible for other nations welfare. I am no “pinko liberal’ -sort of… Read more »

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

The difference is we have actual treaties with those other countries. Which do not exist in this case. A treaty must be introduced by the executive and passed by the Senate after a public debate. I have no problem with bases all over the world, what I take issue with is constant deployments that do not serve American interests. In addition to lowering readiness against real threats like China. Which has taken advantage of our being distracted in the Middle East to run roughshod over our allies in the SCS. As for responsibility? In the end look no further than… Read more »

geoff
geoff
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

Hear what you say Elliot but in the 21st Century world in which we live -no man nor nation is an island. America has spent perhaps a Century intervening in other places-mostly and with deep gratitude, for the good as in WW2 but sometimes for not so much good as in Vietnam and Iraq. I understand America First but like it or not the good old USA(of which I am a great admirer) is stuck with some of the role of World policeman particularly since the UK receded from that task. We can each hold our respective opinions and debate… Read more »

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

WORLD POLICEMAN(ANOTHER SELF APPOINTED PHRASE).WORLD HOOLIGAN MORE LIKE.

Joe16
Joe16
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

Elliott, very much respect your opinion, although I would argue that US presence with the Kurds does benefit the US. From one of your own countrymen:
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/syria/2019-04-16/hard-truths-syria

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

would you really vote Republican being “moderately right of centre”? I consider myself in the same place but find myself having very little to support with Trump’s Republican party. Unfortunately, a lot of the senate appear to be gagged, blackmailed, self-centered or otherwise spineless and appear unable to put any principles beyond their own immediate prospects. The US is indeed a barren place for centrists/moderates

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

I voted for my Senator to represent the views he campaigned not what he may believe “principled”. There is a issue with principles: no one agrees on what is principled. What one so called “centrist” might consider a principled stand someone like me would consider disloyal, dishonest, and pandering to a media that will hate you either way.

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

that may be but the GOP is hardly a “broad church” nowadays (I apologise for religious connotations with politics, just an expression.) Alternate GOP or moderate views are immediately slammed down or attacked. where do those people go?

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

So the Party that just in the Senate manages to contain Ted Cruz, Tim Scott, Rand Paul and Suzanne Collins isn’t a big enough tent?

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

“manages to contain” hardly a big threat to the leadership….not up until the last week or so anyway…times are a changin’. Lame Duck time could be close

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

TO THE SENATE!

geoff
geoff
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Would I really vote Republican..? Perhaps not enthusiastically but as you say-the US electorate it would seem, is stuck in this simple binary so if not Republican-Democrat? The latter I think not-they have lurched too far to the left with the likes of Bernie Sanders and a clique of loony(happen to be) female candidates.There is a vast swathe of fertile ground for a new middle party in America

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

there is indeed and I really don’t understand why politicians don’t break away and form a new party, particularly when they build their own campaign funds. when you look at some of the “lefty policies”, they are basic things we take for granted: comprehensive health care, gun laws, basic holiday/maternity entitlements, though I know the “green new deal” is a bit edgy. Perhaps all of these together would be a bit too much but they are what we have come to expect in Europe and other liberal countries I work with a woman whose husband has only just taken a… Read more »

geoff
geoff
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

The USA certainly is backward when it comes to bottom line working conditions(also strange how they cling doggedly to feet and inches). Here in South Africa things have gone to the other extreme-trying to fire someone even for major offences is difficult, holidays and sick leave, maternity leave, family compassionate leave are at all time highs and we spend half our days filling out endless forms-almost impossible to run a small or medium business! Nice chatting Julian and thanks George Allison for indulging us for straying off subject :):)

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

gun laws/ the biggest area that america fails to do anything about, bit like corbyn’s spend,spend policies politics of the dumb.

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  andy reeves

My guns are none of your God damned buisness and haven’t been since 1776. So you can shut it on that issue.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

like there is in the u.k, but it will never get anywhere will it? who would fund it?

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

I THOUGHT IT WAS THE 6 NATIONS, CAN TRUMP WIN THE GRAND SLAM?

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

A NATION THAT ELECTS DEL BOY AND A WASHED UP COWBOY DESERVES ALL IT GETS. AND IS YET TO CATCH ON THAT EVEN THEIR CLOSEST ALLIES DON’T REALLY LIKE THEM THAT MUCH ANYMORE

BB85
BB85
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

The US should not have invaded Iraq then. Unfort no one can turn back the clock but as a result the US now has a responsibility to ensure they are protected from a possible genocide after they helped them defeat IS at the cost of thousands of their own lives.

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  BB85

No. No open ended responsibility. The Kurds perhaps should have thought about that when they and their lobbyists were among the many groups pressuring us to invade. Remember as the saying goes: “Be careful what you wish for you just might get it.”
Once again the Kurds had to fight ISIS regardless we just gave them money, guns, and equipment. In order to to do what they already had to. Then supported them with Special Forces and massive amounts of bombing. Nothing owed.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

this has big ech’s of the arming of the rebels against russia in afghanistan

Steve
Steve
11 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The precedent was set when US and Europe attacked Serbia and invaded Kosovo without UN sanction. Sadam Hussein was far more brutal and practiced ethnic cleansing of Kurds and Shi’ites on a far larger scale that anything that the Serbs did under provocation of KLA attacks.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  BB85

blair should be in a belgian jail for dragging the u.k into it. with lies and deceptions

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

another issue the u.k must STAY OUT OF

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  HF

has he still got some?

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  geoff

trump/ error ee gads man, you’ll be saying corbyn would be an asset to u.k interests out there

Russjm
Russjm
11 months ago

Well that’s a massive lesson to any small country or organisation that had considered themselves to be a US ally or in good favour. The US is damaged throughout the world and unsurprisingly there is major disquiet in the Baltic media. The Chinese will he emboldened and I bet the Russians in particular just cannot believe their luck.

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  Russjm

The Russians can keep Syria it has been in their sphere of influence since Stalin.
If you think the Chinese give a single solitary damn how we treat the Kurds look no further than the Uighurs. They simply don’t care.
As for the Balts? They have a treaty for better or worse(personally I think to the worse), as long as they abide by it to the letter they have nothing to fear. If they keep failing to hit defense spending targets while simultaneously antagonizing Russia well then they will have a “issue”.

Russjm
Russjm
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

You have managed to massively miss the point. Take a breath and think about it.

dave12
dave12
11 months ago

Reading some of the comments on here which are happy with the US forces leaving Syria ,Its a bad move from trump who really does not know what he is doing,but just to remind some people on here that with out the US and its forces being influential in the world we would be in a very bad place with all the dickhead nations like NK, China, Russia ,Iran etc who would cause a lot more havoc. The US is not perfect but we better pray US power stays strong for years to come because the alternative is not good… Read more »

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  dave12

perhaps…but European nations can step up and spend more to mitigate the effect. there is truth in the rumour that European nations don’t spend enough on defence. A more united Europe with teeth would be a godsend…just not sure its realistic

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  dave12

enough with the politics it’s all bloody pointless

Sid morely
Sid morely
11 months ago

I really feel sorry for the Kurds, the cost to the USA was minimal in keeping a presence there, but Trump love him or hate him, said America first. I think Turkey has imperialist motives, and wants to be a strong man of the region, if Syria is a success – Iraq next Kurdistan for its oil, its over the border. However the Kurds are battle hardened – high mobile and very resourceful, I think it will be no push over for Turkey, last time they had a go, the Kurds knocked out a few Leopard tanks with Javelin ATM… Read more »

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  Sid morely

the “end of turkey” would be equally terrifying and make things a lot worse

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
11 months ago

I didn’t think Trump’s impeachement was ever realistic, since the senate would have always blocked it. But with Trump’s latest brainfart and annoying some Republicans, the possibility seems to be gaining some credibility.

Airborne
Airborne
11 months ago

I have always thought Trump was a bit of a loose cannon and never gives a good impression when talking or even tweeting. But after hearing him talk today about two things, first being the Turkish invasion of North Syria and the second being the diplomatic immunity case, in regard to the RTC. I have to say I think he is in fact a bit of a moron and I may have been giving him a bit to much benefit of the doubt. I always thought he isn’t great, not a great speaker or a statesman, but surrounded by advisers… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I think I’m getting there with Trump too.

Never liked his environmental plans or attitude to animals, but do agree on some points, that immigration needs controlling and cannot be free reign.

Then I read a tweet of his yesterday about destroying the economy of Turkey, that the USA is Great, and on an on, and thought, flippin heck. That’s no way for POTUS to talk. Imagine if Putin said that.

John
11 months ago

Agree with you Daniele. The issue is the way the left are getting so rabid is forcing people to pick sides, so whereas a normal person would say on some points trump is good, others he is bad, certain left wing people are saying that everything he does is bad. You see it mirrored in our parliament, the conservative party are discussing Brexit, some for, some against, which I feel is representative of the country, the issue is that the left wing parties are all staunchly pro remain, making the parliment massively pro remain. This will end up forcing the… Read more »

julian1
julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  John

This is because US politics only has 2 options and they are polarized. The GOP are too far to the right, the Dems have moved to the left. The centrists are left behind having to make a binary decision – either ioption doesn’t sit comfortably. At least our politics is more dynamic in terms of new parties and coalitions etc but the US isn’t like this. In spite of the shit show parliament has been for the last few years, at least there are real options to choose from

John
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

That’s a good point Julian. Yes, in recent history conservatives loosing votes to party’s such as ukip has forced them to adopt ukip policies, eg giving us the vote on leaving the EU. I have heard it said that our conservatives are closer to the us center than Thier right. I don’t think polarising politics gets anyone anywhere and am glad our system seems to be a bit more flexible than the Americans. Normally I don’t pay too much heed to trump’s comments/ speaking. I have heard him speak on TV and he didnt come across as a great orator… Read more »

julian1
julian1
11 months ago

I see this shit everyday. There are late night shows built around the satire and comedy….he is like a retarded teenager Thing is with Trump, its not necessarily what he does its what he says. If he kept his big, uncouth, ill-educated mouth shut and closed his twitter account, he would probably get away with it. But he doesn’t – he is his own worst enemy and totally lacks humility or empathy. It is just incredible he got to where he is in all walks of life. In America, they say “look at what he does not what he says”… Read more »

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

“Thankfully the tide is finally turning against him” – 2017 called it wants it’s headlines back.

Julian1
Julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

I notice you didn’t disagree with the rest of it though

julian1
julian1
11 months ago

by the way Danielle, his immigration policies of splitting families affect everybody. Even me here as a brit on a work visa – I have had my visa renewed whilst my family continue to wait for months. I can travel and drive and work, they can’t. I’m coming back to the UK next year, I’ve had enough

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Disobeying the Law should have consequences. I don’t care if a someone who broke the law is separated from their family. America has the most generous immigration system in the world, which they chose not to avail themselves of and simultaneously spit on those who waited their turn and came legally.

Julian1
Julian1
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

Doesn’t justify treating children like animals though. And of course they are all guilty until proven innocent. The administration has no shame.

Elliott
Elliott
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian1

There is no such thing as forced separation of families! They DECIDED to come here and therefore chose to be separated. A good portion aren’t even coming with their children, but are renting them to get across the border.
The law is freely available for anyone to peruse. Ignorance of it is not a excuse from punishment.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

the u.s is a self inflicted nation of mongrels, trumps attitudes to, say, mexico is just hypocrisy.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Hi Julian. As I think you know I was referring to the wider concept of open ended mass immigration, with no limits, which is encouraged everywhere one looks on the left. Only recently I highlighted the frankly lunatic vote by Labour members here, which Sole Survivor tried to reassure me that a vote is not always taken up by the leadership. It didn’t reassure me much given Corbyn, Abbott’s, Mcdonnels comments on such things. I think Johns reply to me above summed my opinion. A balance is needed. And too often those that dare so much as squeak are shouted… Read more »

JohnG
11 months ago

Very eloquently put Daniele. As you very clearly wrote, a lot of the left are all or nothing with issues such as immigration. I’d like to add to this that are a lot of institutions that seem to have these views embedded as the “accepted norm”, including large multinational corporations, most government jobs (NHS, policing, teaching, local council) and the bbc. At the moment the cards are significant stacked against people that don’t agree 100% with this narrative, and I feel I have to bear this in mind when critiquing Trump. I don’t want the answer to be for people… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

Exactly. This sort of conversation needs to be encouraged, everywhere.

And, sorry to bring it up, it was a major reason for Brexit too. Now conveniently forgotten in the howling wind of endless negative news of the economy and deal and no deal and hard and soft by people trying to stop it and keeping the status quo.

So even if Brexit collapses, these issues still be there and we are back to square one.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago

balanced? corbyn, mcdonald, and that odious racist drone abbot, says it all a brainwashed party led by an imbecile who has the delusional idea that he could be the leader of our nation, oh stuff it i’m going back to bed!

SoleSurvivor
SoleSurvivor
11 months ago

US troops should not of been there anyway, he was elected on a campaign to withdraw troops from the region, it’s taken him a few years but he’s finally done it, probably because there is an election around the corner but at least it’s finally happened This is how warped and brainwashed a lot of the population is, all this sympathy for the Kurds, do me a favour ffs, the Hollywood outrage machine and neocon/neolib imperial media & establishment are all up in arms over the poor Kurds, where was the outcry for the Iraqi civilians, or the civilians in… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
11 months ago

Truly a dick move by Trump, at one stroke betrayed a long term ally, started a new war that can threaten the region and undermined years of successful counter-terrorist work.

BIG D
BIG D
11 months ago

Aren’t our Turkish nato allies brave in their tanks how will they cope against an adversary that mostly has small calibre weapons. THE BRAVERY.

Joseph R
Joseph R
11 months ago

I am fascinated that America is somehow being called the bad guy now .. all the while almost literally nothing is being said about Turkey for starting the damn war. America is not responsible for Erdogan. Erdogan is responsible for Erdogan. I would say the Turks are responsible for Erdogan, but their system is so rigged and manipulated it’s not a democracy anyway.

andy reeves
andy reeves
11 months ago

i hope they have a compass, navigating round there is like the coventry ring road almost impossible!!