(ZH) — The Washington Post reports that the expected major Turkish military incursion into northeast Syria which set off a firestorm early this week after the White House appeared to give the green light in a Sunday night statement will commence in the next 24 hours.
“There are indications that it is coming in the next 24 hours. Most likely at Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, according to press reports and the Turkish build up,” the Post’s Liz Sly stated, citing a prior report.
This comes after Turkish warplanes had already conducted limited bombing of select Kurdish supply routes along the Syria-Iraq border.
Turkey has confirmed the reports, via Reuters:
The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Syrian border “shortly”, President Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director said early on Wednesday, as Ankara starts a military incursion in the region.
Separately, Foreign Policy is reporting “U.S. and Kurdish officials expect Turkey to launch a military operation within 24 hours as Trump tries to backpedal.”
That so-called backpedaling includes Trump tweeting Tuesday, “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.” He reiterated that “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!” he added, while senior officials also sought to reassure the press that there was no pending major US withdrawal from Syria, but only that some special forces troops were moved back from the border with Turkey.
Turkey appears to have rejected Trump’s threats, with Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay asserting Tuesday, “Where Turkey’s security is concerned, we determine our own path, but we set our own limits.” He also vowed to clear the region of “terrorists” and establish Erdogan’s so-called ‘safe zone’.
Meanwhile, the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — who stand ready to face imminent Turkish air power while themselves not having airplanes, but only previously US air support which will not be utilized against the invading Turks — issued a last ditch appeal to the world overnight Tuesday to stave off the Turkish attack.
The border areas are “on the edge of a possible humanitarian catastrophe,” the SDF statement said. “This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded.”
The statement ended with a call for external powers to avoid the “impending humanitarian distaster” by stepping up with their responsibilities, in what appears a clear desperate appeal to the United States and its allies.
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