Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday (October 7th) that a Turkish offensive could be launched at any time in northern Syria, after Washington announced that it would not oppose such an operation against a Kurdish militia.
"There is a phrase that we repeat all the time: we could enter [Syria] any night without warning.It is absolutely out of the question for us to tolerate the threats from these terrorist groups any longer." threatened Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a press conference.
For its part, the UN says "prepare for the worst" about this Turkish offensive in Syria. "We do not know what will happen," said UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria Panos Moumtzis at a press conference in Geneva.
US troops start leaving the Turkish border area
The United States announced on Sunday night that Turkey would lead "soon" a military incursion into northern Syria and that their US troops stationed in the country would leave the immediate vicinity of this operation against the Kurdish militia of the People's Protection Units. (YPG) in northeastern Syria.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced at the press conference on Monday that the announced US withdrawal had begun, as confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) on key positions in Ras al-Ain and Tall Abyad.
Turkey regards the YPG as a "terrorist" group because of their links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish organization that has been delivering bloody guerrillas on Turkish soil since 1984. Yet the YPGs have been iron spearhead in the fight against the Islamic State organization with the support of the United States and other Western countries, such as France.
What will become of the jihadist prisoners in the hands of the Kurds ?
For its part, the Kurdish rebel movement, which controls much of northeastern Syria has assured that it "would not hesitate for a moment" to defend itself.
"Despite our efforts to avoid a military bidding war with Turkey and the flexibility we have shown in establishing a mechanism for border security (...), US forces have not respected their commitments and withdraw their forces from the border areas of Turkey, "deplore the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters in a statement.
The FDS, backed by Washington's international anti-jihadist coalition, fought ISIS terrorists for years, and last March reclaimed its ultimate bastion in Baghouz, Syria.
They warned that a Turkish military operation would bring about a major resurgence of ISIS organization. Terrorist leaders still alive could come out of their hiding place, according to the SDF, for whom a Turkish operation would also threaten the prisons and camps they manage and which house many jihadists and their families.
Responding to fears of the release of Western jihadists currently imprisoned in the Kurds in Syria, the White House raised the possibility of entrusting Turkey with the responsibility of these European fighters of the group.
With AFP and Reuters