Kurdish commanders warn of a & # 39; humanitarian disaster & # 39; when Turkey invades Syria
Kurdish troops confronted by a threatening attack by Turkey after Donald Trump agreed to withdraw US troops from Syria have warned of a & # 39; threatening humanitarian disaster & # 39 ;.
Commanders of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who led the fight against ISIS, say that & # 39; thousands of innocent civilians & # 39; will die if the invasion continues.
Faced with an attack by the Turkish army and the Syrian National Army-backed rebel group that seemed ready to start on Wednesday, the SDF begged world leaders for support to prevent bloodshed.
Meanwhile, Russia warned that US policy in Syria has the potential to ignite the entire region, which has been destroyed for years by a bloody war.
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have warned of a & # 39; humanitarian catastrophe & # 39; if Turkey is allowed to invade Northern Syria (pictured, disabled Kurdish veterans on the territory of the SDF)
The SDF begged world leaders for help on Tuesday to prevent & # 39; thousands of innocent civilians & # 39; would be killed in the midst of signs that Turkey and its allies were ready to attack
Turkish President Erdogan has previously outlined plans for a & # 39; peace walk & # 39; along the southern border of Turkey by attacking five Kurdish strongholds
Turkey continued to move troops, armored vehicles, supplies and tanks to the border with Syria in preparation for an invasion.
SDF leaders said all evidence pointed to the fact that Turkey is preparing for an impending attack on its troops, which would probably start around Manbij
Turkey began moving to northern Syria after Donald Trump agreed to hand over regional security to the country during a telephone conversation with Erdogan on Sunday
& # 39; The border areas of Northeast Syria are on the brink of a possible humanitarian catastrophe & # 39 ;, said the general command of the SDF in a statement.
& # 39; All indications, field information and military build-up on the Turkish side of the border indicate that our border areas will be attacked by Turkey in cooperation with Syrian opposition bound to Turkey.
& # 39; This attack will shed the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded.
"That is why we call on the international community and all countries of the international coalition who fought together and triumphed together over the so-called ISIS caliphate to fulfill their responsibilities and prevent a potential humanitarian disaster."
Many Syrians displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country have fled to the Aleppo region in the hope of finding shelter there.
According to data gathered by Global Shelter Cluster, which manages emergency aid in Syria, around 600,000 people currently receive aid in the Aleppo region – 140,000 of which are almost entirely dependent on aid for survival.
In the case of an invasion of Northern Syria by Turkey, Aleppo is the bulk of the first battles.
Turkey has announced plans to create a & # 39; peace corridor & # 39; along the border with Syria by & # 39; terrorists & # 39; eradicate – by which it means the SDF.
Ankara says that this will allow the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey and create greater regional stability.
Kurdish forces led the fight against ISIS with support from an international coalition led by the US, but are now faced with the prospect that support will suddenly be withdrawn
Fighters and veterans of the Kurdish Women's Protection Units (YPJ) and the Public Protection Units (YPG) are marching in Qamishli, one of the targets for the Turkish attack
The Syrian government – which has tried to overthrow the US – has called on the Kurds (photo) to come faithfully to their side as America withdraws its support
There are nearly 600,000 displaced persons in northern Syria currently receiving assistance, with the majority of those around Aleppo where early fighting would take place
However, observers warn that a new border conflict will destabilize the region and probably lead to a revival of ISIS, while the SDF redirects the armed forces to fight the Turks.
& # 39; At night, the SDF reported three suicide attacks in Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS & # 39; s self-proclaimed caliphate by sleeping cells activated in the city.
Early Wednesday, the group tweeted: & Daesh is benefiting from the impending Turkish invasion.
& # 39; Three ISIS suicide attacks on our military positions in Raqqa, conflicts are still ongoing. & # 39;
Daesh is a different Arabic term for ISIS.
Trump has experienced a severe political setback after he agreed to withdraw US troops from Syria during a routine telephone conversation with President Erdogan on Sunday.
In Congress, efforts are now underway to block the withdrawal of troops, including from Senate Republicans led by Lindsay Graham.
Tweeting to the Turkish leadership on Tuesday evening, he said: & You have NO green light to enter northern Syria.
& # 39; There is massive two-party opposition in Congress, which you should see as a red line that you should not cross. & # 39;
Donald Trump denied abandoning the Kurds and threatened to crash the Turkish economy in the case of & # 39; casual or unnecessary fighting & # 39;
Turkish artillery batteries are seen near the border with Syria as the country prepares for an attack on Kurdish forces
Armored military vehicles and heavy machinery of the Turkish army are sent to the Syrian border prior to the planned operation of Turkey
A lorry that transports two armored vehicles drives Tuesday through a border crossing between Turkey and Syria on Tuesday
President Erdogan has outlined plans to create a & # 39; peace corridor & # 39; in northern Syria to resettle around 2 million refugees currently residing in Turkey
Of particular interest are the prison camps that hold around 15,000 ISIS hunters who would fall into the hands of Turkey if it seizes border areas currently controlled by the SDF, including the infamous Al-Hawl camp.
There are 2500 foreign ISIS jihadists within these camps, mostly from Europe, who would then be responsible for detaining Turkey.
There is a fear that this would give Ankara more influence on European leaders and security on the continent, as Turkey is one of the most important routes for ISIS hunters returning to Europe.
Trump has tried to defend his position by saying that he will crash the Turkish economy in the case of & # 39; casual or unnecessary fighting & # 39 ;.
He also denied leaving the Kurds, pointing out that the country has a large Kurdish population – including a separatist that the government has been fighting for decades.
Turkey wants a so-called & # 39; safe zone & # 39; create in an area along the southern border with Syria that is currently controlled by Syrian Kurdish hunters, known as the People & # 39; s Protection Units, or YPG.
Turkey regards the YPG as terrorists affiliated with the banned Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, which has fought a 35-year battle against the Turkish state. Ankara also regards the YPG-controlled zone as an & # 39; existential threat & # 39 ;.
Erdogan has a & # 39; safe zone & # 39; which is 20 miles deep and extends more than 300 miles to the Iraqi border.
Syrian national forces – a rebel group linked to Turkey – gathers its forces near Aleppo on Tuesday in preparation for an attack
Syrian national forces are sent to the front line of Manbij before the planned operation of Turkey in the east of the Euphrates River
The SDF says all indications are that Turkey and its allies (including the Syrian national army in the photo) are preparing for an attack on them
The Syrian national army, part of the Syrian opposition forces, held the military exercise in Afrin, Syria, near the border with Turkey, in support of Turkish forces
Initially he had hoped to do this in cooperation with the United States, but was frustrated by what he regarded as delaying tactics by the US
Once secured, Turkey wants to relocate the area with 2 million Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey because of the conflict in their home country.
How such a mass resettlement would be carried out is unclear. Human rights groups have warned that an escalation of fighting in the area could move hundreds of thousands more people.
Erdogan has talked about plans to build cities, villages, hospitals and schools, but also says that Turkey, which has already spent around $ 40 billion on refugees, cannot afford it alone.
He said he will organize a donor conference to help bear the costs and has called on European countries to share the burden, warning that Turkey could be forced to open the & # 39; gates & # 39; to be opened for an influx of migrants to western countries.
Turkey has carried out two previous raids in Northern Syria in recent years with the help of Syrian rebels.
In the first offensive in 2016, Turkey pushed back militants from the Islamic State Group west of the Euphrates.
In the second operation last year, Turkey captured the Syrian-Kurdish controlled enclave of Afrin.
Those regions are currently managed by opposition groups supported by the Turks who manage them as virtual cities managed by Turkey.
Analysts say that this operation would probably be more complicated.
The SDF says ISIS has already launched three suicide attacks in Raqqa, the group's former capital, awaiting a Turkish attack
War-hardened Kurdish hunters, who have been trained and equipped by the US, have not wanted to relinquish an area they have released from the Islamic State Group, have vowed to fight the Turks to the end.
& # 39; It is a huge area for the Turkish army to enter and there will be clear resistance on the part of the (Syrian Kurdish forces) & # 39 ;, said Bulent Aliriza, of the Turkey project director at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Aliriza suggested that the operation can be limited and does not extend all the way to the Iraqi border.
& # 39; We'll look at that first. How deep and how wide is it, whether it goes all the way across the Iraqi border to the Euphrates, or is only limited to two or three penetration points, & he said.
Critics of Trump & # 39; s decision fear that a Turkish operation may have destabilizing consequences for the region, while both Democrats and Republicans have warned that a Turkish attack could result in a massacre of the Kurds, killing thousands of IS-hunters and their hold families.
One of the big questions about Turkey's plans is whether fighting Syrian Kurdish forces would enable IS to make a comeback.
Turkey insists that the worldwide fight against militants will not suffer and points to its 2016 raid, which expelled IS from another border area.
But Kurdish officials have warned that they should divert their troops from guarding IS prisoners in the event of a Turkish attack.
The White House has said that Turkey will take over the responsibility for the captured hunters, but it is unclear how that would happen if it did.
Erdogan says that Turkey and the United States are working separately on plans to repatriate foreign hunters in Kurdish prisons.
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