Arabs demand "immediate" withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria

Arabs demand

Kurdish forces have urged the worldwide community to help stop Turkey's military offensive against them.

The spokesperson warned that if Turkey continues its offensive, the Kurdish forces will have to focus on protecting the region and residents, making the supervision of more than 10,000 captives less of a priority. Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis, with almost a half-million people at risk near the border.

Trump has warned Turkey to act with moderation and safeguard civilians, and the Pentagon said the operation is a threat to progress in combatting IS militants and a potential threat to US troops in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that threats of sanctions and arms embargoes by Western powers would not stop Turkey's military offensive.

Many EU foreign ministers were looking beyond a strong statement condemning the military operation that has destabilized the whole region and wanted to make sure their move would carry some sting. The figure could not be independently verified. An SDF official said clashes were going on along the road.

Separately on Saturday, IS declared a new campaign in Syria, which it said was to avenge its members' detention in Kurdish-run prisons. Ankara's offensive sparked fears that thousands of IS fighters held by Syrian Kurdish forces could break free. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all.

According to the American Newsweek, which first reported on the Turkish attack, the American troops were about to shoot back last night because it was heavy artillery fire.

It came after US President Donald Trump withdrew some of his country's troops who had been backing Kurdish forces in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS).

"We may want a war over; we may even declare it over", Mattis said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Esper said he was aware of reports of hundreds of IS prisoners escaping as a result of the Turkish invasion and of atrocities being committed against Syrian Kurds by members of a Turkish-supported Syrian Arab militia.

While the US withdrawal moves American troops out of the line of fire, the return of Syrian soldiers to the border with Turkey opens up the possibility of a wider conflict should the Syrian army come in direct confrontation with Turkish forces.

Johnson also said the incursion could further worsen the humanitarian situation in northern Syria "and undermine the progress made against Daesh".

The United Nations says more than 130,000 Syrians have fled since the operation began five days ago, including many who had taken refuge from previous rounds of fighting in the country's eight-year civil war.

In a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Stoltenberg also expressed worry that the Turkish offensive could "jeopardize" gains made against IS.

Addressing the major powers, the president said that critical, worldwide situations such as that occurring at the present time, destroy democracy and marginalise people and fundamental human rights.

At least 26 civilians were killed on Sunday in northeastern Syria as Turkey and its proxies stepped up their offensive against Kurdish forces, a war monitor said. He also raised the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey, a move demanded by Republican congressional critics of his policy.

While the territory in question is already outside Syrian government control, a Turkish incursion could mean the area switching from a non-hostile force - the SDF - to Turkey and rebels that have sought to topple Assad. Such a zone would end the Kurds' autonomy in the area and put much of their population under Turkish control.

Two Turkish officials said Ankara believed there were more than 1,000 ISIS fighters, mostly foreigners, held in the part of Syria where Turkey aims to set up its safe zone.

The U.S. also has come to believe that the Kurds are attempting to "cut a deal" with the Syrian army and Russian Federation to counter the invading Turks, he said. The Turkish offensive initially covered an area along the border about 125 kilometres (77 miles) wide and about 30 kilometres (19 miles) deep.

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