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Turkey’s assault in Syria kills more than 100 Kurds: Report
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Thursday morning that his troops killed more than 100 Kurdish fighters in a Wednesday assault in Syria, Fox News reported.
At the same time, Turkish state-controlled media also reported that Syrian forces backed by Turkey cleared two villages of “terror,” meaning they were cleared of Kurdish soldiers. Erdogan has long blamed Kurdish people for an insurgency in Turkey and considered Kurds a threat there.
But reports on the ground did not indicate anything close to the 109 deaths Erdogan claimed. North of the border with Turkey, two civilians, including a baby, were reported killed, and another 46 were wounded.
Erdogan’s warning to Europe
Turkey began a ground campaign into Syria following artillery and shelling that reportedly destroyed over 180 targets. By doing so, Erdogan hopes to create a safe zone free of Kurdish militia near the border that would allow repatriation of up to two million Syrian refugees.
But the Turkish president has warned Europe not to call Turkey’s military action in Syria an invasion, stating that he could “open the gates” and allow a flood of Syrian refugees into nearby European countries.
For their part, the Kurds had been allies of the U.S. in destroying ISIS in the area, but have now focused their attention on Turkish fighters instead.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has pulled U.S. troops out of Syria in a move criticized by many in Congress, including some Republicans, according to The Hill. Trump said he respected others’ views, but noted that the pullout was long-planned and necessary.
Trump’s warning to Erdogan
Trump also called the Turkish offensive into Syria a “bad idea” in a statement and said he would hold the nation to its commitment that no humanitarian crisis will take place as a result of its military action. If Turkey attempts to “wipe out” the Kurds, Trump has said he would “wipe out” Turkey’s economy with sanctions.
European countries have also threatened sanctions against Turkey if they commit atrocities in their attacks.
But at least one U.S. Special Forces member remaining in Syria has reported that atrocities by Turkish forces against the Kurds have already occurred.
“We met every single security agreement,” the unnamed source said. “The Kurds met every single agreement [with the Turks]. There was no threat to the Turks — none — from this side of the border.”
Of course, it does seem like Trump is taking a risk by pulling out troops before ISIS is completely destroyed, but will that really ever happen? For now, all we can do is trust that the U.S. president is making the right move.
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