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One NATO member steps aside while another NATO member vows to take on forces (including some Canadians) fighting ISIS ...
... with this from Turkish media:The White House said Sunday that U.S. forces in northeast Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault, essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the yearslong battle to defeat Islamic State militants.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Kurdish forces as a threat to his country. Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.
U.S. troops “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area,” in northern Syria, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an unusual late-Sunday statement that was silent on the fate of the Kurds. There are about 1,000 U.S. troops in northern Syria, and a senior U.S. official said they will pull back from the area — and potentially depart the country entirely should widespread fighting break out between Turkish and Kurdish forces.
The announcement followed a call between President Donald Trump and Erdogan, the White House said.
The decision is a stark illustration of Trump’s focus on ending American overseas entanglements — one of his key campaign promises. But his goal of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied by concerns from U.S. officials and American allies about the dangerous voids that would remain. As he faces an impeachment inquiry at home, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.
In December, Trump announced he was withdrawing American troops from Syria but was met with widespread condemnation for abandoning Kurdish allies to the Turkish assault. The announcement prompted the resignation in protest of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and a coordinated effort by then-national security adviser John Bolton to try to protect the Kurds.
Since January, U.S. officials have tried to broker the creation of a “safe zone” in northern Syria to provide a security buffer between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces, but Turkey has repeatedly objected to its slow implementation.
The White House announcement Sunday came a day after Erdogan offered the strongest warning yet of a unilateral military operation into northeastern Syria, as the Turkish military has been dispatching units and defense equipment to its border with the area.
“We have given all kinds of warning regarding the (area) east of the Euphrates to the relevant parties. We have acted with enough patience,” Erdogan said.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces threatened to respond forcefully to any Turkish incursion.
“We will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to DEFEND ourselves and our people,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted Saturday.
A Kurdish official speaking on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to brief reporters said Monday they expect a limited Turkish operation and are still working to ascertain what will happen with American forces in the region. The official said the view is that Kurdish-led forces have a legitimate right to self-defense.
Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years ...
op:The U.S.-backed terrorist YPG/PKK forces in northern Syria deployed its members in Tal Abyad and Ras-al Ayn ahead of a potential military operation by Turkey and Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The YPG -- Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group -- deployed Saturday night a group of Arab-origin members who were forcibly recruited in the regions of Tal Abyad, the northern city of Raqqah, and Ras-al Ayn, the northeastern city of Al-Hasakah, close to the Turkey-Syria border east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
The terror group also carried sharpshooters, improved explosives, and ammunition in two military vehicles to the region.
The first convoy departed Jalabiya, one of the largest military bases of the U.S. in the northern city of Raqqa -- northeast of the Euprates in Syria, while the second convoy departed Al-Hasakah and Qamishli regions.
Meanwhile, the U.S. warplanes were seen flying over the Turkey-Syria border.
US’ military, logistic support to YPG/PKK continues
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
However, the U.S. has been providing support to the YPG/PKK since 2015, citing the fight against Daesh, and has 18 military bases with 2,000 personnel in Syria.
The U.S. forces have been providing terrorists with military and logistical support, sending them 300 trucks through the Semalka border gate between Iraq and Syria over the last 10 days.
On Sept. 21, the U.S. also sent 200 trucks to the YPG/PKK occupied areas in Syria, which carries construction materials, box bodies, prefabricated houses and fuel trucks.
Although U.S. President Donald Trump announced last year that he wants to withdraw his troops in Syria, Washington maintains its military presence in the country ...