Turkey will not bow to Trump's threats over Syria safe zone

Turkish military, Syrian rebel forces to cross into Syria 'shortly': Erdogan's aide

Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is considered a terrorist group by the U.S.

Syrian Kurds gather around a USA armored vehicle during a demonstration against Turkish threats on the outskirts of Ras al-Ain town in Syria's Hasakeh province near the Turkish border, October 6, 2019.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long threatened to send troops into northeastern Syria to clear the border region of Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Turkey considers a serious security threat.

He responded to the criticism by threatening to "obliterate" Turkey's economy if it went "off limits" in the incursion, saying Turkey should "not do anything outside of what we would think is humane".

But on Wednesday Mr Trump said the USA did not endorse Turkey's assault on northern Syria and had made it clear to Ankara that its incursion against Kurdish fighters who helped the U.S. battle the Islamic State (IS) group was a "bad idea".

He had said earlier this week that he was working on a bipartisan bill to sanction Turkey if they invade Syria, but he did not mention the proposal during Wednesday's interview. (Turkish Armed Forces) A man steps down from a tank as Turkish Armed Forces drive towards the border with Syria near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on October 8, 2019.

Donald Trump controversially withdrew U.S. troops ahead of the action but says Turkey may face economic consequences.

Trump's words are at odds with longstanding US policy of keeping thousands of American troops in the strategically important region, and his decision is being condemned by some of his staunchest Republican allies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Australian Government was "deeply concerned" about Turkey's actions in Syria, and about the "potential for the resurgence of Daesh", or the Islamic State.

Erdogan aide Fahrettin Altun said fighters from the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria could defect, or else Ankara would have to "stop them from disrupting" Turkey's struggle against the Islamic State militants. The area is about 620 kilometres northwest of Tehran.


The SDF has called the U.S. decision a "stab in the back" and said they might start talks with the Syrian government and Russian Federation to fill the vacuum left by a possible full United States withdrawal. Republican critics and others said he was sacrificing a USA ally, the Syrian Kurds, and undermining American credibility.

President Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday over sharp criticism of his decision to pull back US troops from northeastern Syria, insisting he is focused on the "BIG PICTURE" that doesn't include American involvement in "stupid endless wars" in the Middle East.

SDF fighters repelled a ground attack by Turkish troops in Tel Abyad, SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Twitter.

"We announce three days of general mobilisation in northern and eastern Syria", Kurdish authorities in northern Syria said, urging all civilians to "head to the border with Turkey... to resist during this delicate historical moment".

He said the US will monitor the situation closely.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, meanwhile, accused the US of playing "very unsafe games" with the Syrian Kurds. In a press conference at Copenhagen Antonio Guterres said any solution to the conflict must respect the sovereignty of the territory and the unity of Syria.

"Such reckless attitude to this highly sensitive subject can set fire to the entire region, and we have to avoid it at any cost", he said in Kazakhstan.

Lavrov didn't directly address the issue of Turkey's anticipated invasion into northeastern Syria but said that Moscow is encouraging the Kurds and the Syrian government to settle their difference through talks.

Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidency's communications director, called on the global community to rally behind Ankara, which he said would also take over the fight against the Islamic State group.

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