Bor­der res­i­dents flee Turks’ bom­bard­ment

Syria: Trump’ s de­ci­sion leaves former al­lies vul­ner­a­ble to at­tack

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - WORLD NEWS -

Turkey yes­ter­day con­tin­ued its as­sault against Kur­dish forces in north­ern Syria for a sec­ond day, pound­ing the re­gion with air strikes and an ar­tillery bom­bard­ment that sent pan­icked civil­ians scram­bling to get out of a bor­der town.

Res­i­dents fled with their be­long­ings loaded into cars, pick-up trucks and mo­tor­cy­cle rick­shaws, while oth­ers es­caped on foot.

The UN refugee agency said tens of thou­sands of peo­ple are on the move, and aid agen­cies have warned nearly half a mil­lion peo­ple near the bor­der are at risk.

The Turk­ish air and ground as­sault was launched three days af­ter US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump opened the way by pulling Amer­i­can troops from their po­si­tions near the bor­der, ef­fec­tively aban­don­ing their Kur­dish al­lies who are re­garded as ter­ror­ists by neigh­bour­ing Turkey.

That move drew swift crit­i­cism from Repub­li­cans and Democrats in Congress, along with many na­tional de­fence ex­perts, who say it has en­dan­gered not only the Kurds and re­gional sta­bil­ity but US cred­i­bil­ity as well. The Syr­ian Kur­dish mili­tia was the only US ally in the cam­paign that brought down the Is­lamic State group in Syria. Mr Trump urged Turkey to be mod­er­ate in its ap­proach and safe­guard civil­ians.

But the open­ing bar­rage showed lit­tle sign of hold­ing back. Last night the Turk­ish de­fence force said its jets and ar­tillery have struck 181 tar­gets so far.

Ankara said the Kur­dish mili­tia had fired dozens of mor­tars into Turk­ish bor­der towns over the past two days, in­clud­ing Ak­cakale, killing at least six civil­ians in­clud­ing a nine-month-old boy.

On the Syr­ian side, seven civil­ians and eight Kur­dish fight­ers have been killed since the op­er­a­tion be­gan, ac­cord­ing to ac­tivists.

Turk­ish pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan said 109 “ter­ror­ists” were killed in the of­fen­sive, a ref­er­ence to the Syr­ian Kur­dish fight­ers. But reports from the area did not in­di­cate any­thing re­motely close to such a large num­ber of ca­su­al­ties.

Mr Er­do­gan also warned the EU not to call Ankara’s in­cur­sion into Syria an “in­va­sion”, and re­newed a threat to “open the gates” and let Syr­ian refugees flood into Europe.

Turk­ish for­eign min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu said the mil­i­tary in­tends to move 19 miles into north­ern Syria and that its op­er­a­tion will last un­til all “ter­ror­ists are neu­tralised”.

Mean­while, the Kur­dish forces have halted all op­er­a­tions against IS in or­der to fo­cus on fight­ing Turk­ish troops.

“Er­do­gan said 109 ‘ter­ror­ists’ were killed in the of­fen­sive”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.