US President Donald Trump ordered Sunday to withdraw all US troops from Syria. This following the invasion of the Turkish army.
There are currently around a thousand US troops in Syria. According to CNN , the troops themselves have not yet received an official order to withdraw, but all preparations are being made.
The US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, speaks about a poor security situation. "In the last 24 hours we have learned that [the Turks] are likely to extend their attack further south than originally planned, and to the West," said Esper in a pre-recorded interview with CBS.
As far as known no Dutch IS people escaped from Syrian camp
Earlier on Sunday, the Kurdish authorities reported that about 785 foreign IS supporters had escaped from a Northeast Syrian relief camp. It would mainly concern women and children of IS fighters. As far as we know, there are no Dutchmen among them, reports a reliable source to NU.nl.
According to an officer of the, there is not enough manpower left to guard the camps because there is heavy fighting near the camp by Turkish and Kurdish troops.
The nearby border town of Ayn Issa has been heavily bombed by Turkey for several days. An SDF spokesperson said on Saturday that guarding IS fighters and their families is no longer a priority now that Turkey has invaded the area. The SDF soldiers focus primarily on defending border cities and civilians.
It is not clear exactly how many people are being looked after at Ayn Issa and how many of them are IS sympathizers. Different sources mention different numbers. It is known that the camp in any case accommodates more than ten thousand people, most of whom are domestic refugees.
Only a few hundred to a thousand residents are detained because of the link with the terror group with IS, of whom only a part comes from abroad.
The intended 'safe zone' that Erdogan has in mind is a strip in northeastern Syria (red / yellow on the map). (Image: NU.nl/Fiona van Kessel)
Turkey bombs for "safe zone"
Turkey started bombing and invading the Northeast Syrian region earlier this week. The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to create a "safe zone" there, so that the millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, among others, can return to Syrian territory after years.
However, this area is led by the YPG, a Kurdish branch of the SDF. Erdogan sees the YPG as an extension of the PKK, which Turkey, among others, sees as a terrorist organization.
Because of their attacks, the Turkish troops on Sunday got hold of the Syrian highway M4, reports the Turkish Ministry of Defense on Twitter. The occupied stretch of road is 30 to 35 kilometers long and runs parallel to the Turkish-Syrian border, right through the area that should be the "safe zone" for Erdogan.
As a result of the violence, 130,000 people have since been displaced, according to the UN. The organization thinks that this number can also increase.