Turkey has said that its preparations for an imminent invasion inside northeast Syria have been “completed.”
CBN News reports that the Turkish government insists the controversial invasion and establishment of a safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border is necessary because Ankara “will never tolerate the creation of a terror corridor at our borders,” according to a tweet by the foreign minister.
Turkey considers the Kurdish forces who operate inside northeast Syria to be terrorists due to their ties with Kurdish separatists who challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power in his country. However, the Syrian Kurds are US allies who fought alongside American soldiers in the fight against ISIS.
The International Rescue Committee warned Monday that as many as 300,000 people could be forced from their homes in northeast Syria if Turkey invades.
Among them are more than 100,000 Syrian Christians who fear that Erdogan’s forces will persecute and drive them out as they did during his military campaign in Afrin last year.
CBN News previously reported that if Iran enters this area, it would help build their goal of a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean. That would also put Iran in a stronger position on Israel’s northern border and increase the Iranian threat to Israel.
Trump says his decision was the fulfillment of a campaign promise to stop the “endless war” in Syria and the Middle East, but has drawn criticism among lawmakers and the Kurdish forces who accused him of abandoning US allies to be slaughtered by Turkey.
After facing heavy backlash on Monday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if Turkish forces go too far and take action he considers “off-limits.”
On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump tweeted that the US has not abandoned the Kurds, stating, “We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters. Likewise our relationship with Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good. Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully understands that while we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency. We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!”
We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters. Likewise our relationship with Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good. Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2019
Erdogan said on Monday that the assault into northeast Syria was imminent.
“We have made our preparations, we have completed our operation plans, we have given the necessary orders. The decision has been made and the process has begun for the springs of peace and now opening up their path is as near as maybe today, maybe tomorrow. We will conduct this from the ground and from the air,” Erdogan boasted.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) October 7, 2019