Israelis, Europeans take to streets to protest Turkish assault on Kurds


As the USA -allied Kurds come under attack by Turkish forces and say ISIS fighters have been able to escape from prison amid these attacks, Trump spoke of how he understands the Syria-Turkey situation "better than most".

The SDF lost 11,000 fighters in the protracted US-led campaign against IS before finally overrunning the jihadists' self-proclaimed "caliphate" in March.

A further 90,000 women and children affiliated with ISIS fighters are also said to be held in detention centers in northern Syria.

But the Kurds say the Turkish invasion amounts to an attempt to redraw the ethnic map of the region at their expense.

Turkish forces had overnight stepped up their bombardment of Ras al Ain in their incursion, after USA troops in the vicinity came under artillery fire from Turkish positions.

Turkey's assault on the Kurdish-controlled region of northeastern Syria has raised global alarm over its mass displacement of civilians and the possibility of a revival by Islamic State in Syria.

"The US demands that Turkey avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action", it added.

The Pentagon's official remarks contrasted with a statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry on Friday.

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Trump said the US can not fight "endless wars".

"In expectation of the end of this offensive, France has chose to suspend all plans to export to Turkey weapons that could be used in this offensive", the joint Saturday statement from the ministries read. "All precautions were taken prior to opening fire in order to prevent any harm to the US base".

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has accused US President Donald Trump of sending former allies in the fight against IS to slaughter over his handling of the Syrian conflict.

The Arab League called for the United Nations Security Council to "take the necessary measures to stop the Turkish aggression and (for) the withdrawal from Syrian territory immediately", Reuters reported. "We tried the political solution in Turkey in the past and we saw what happened".

Local residents applaud as a convoy of Turkish forces trucks transporting tanks is driven in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border with Syria, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019.

"This was not a mistake", said Brett McGurk, a former U.S. envoy in the region.

The assault came four days after President Trump cleared the way for Turkey's air and ground offensive by pulling back United States forces from the area.

Though Trump has insisted USA troops are not in harm's way, the chances for attacks on remaining American personnel have increased as the scope of the offensive has heightened.

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The biggest fear for the US and its allies is that Turkey's takeover of Kurdish-controlled areas could see the release of some of the 15,000 ISIS fighters previously captured by the Kurds and their allies.

Turkey and its allied fighters began the offensive on Wednesday to push back the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the SDF, from its border.

Turkey made a decision to send its army into northeastern Syria in a large military operation this week to carve out a "safe zone", accusing Kurdish forces who fought with the United States against the Islamic State group of being "terrorists".

The minister added that Turkey has started a new chapter of blatant assault on Syria's sovereignty, which is a founding member of the Arab League.

Observers say at least 30 civilians have been killed.

In addition to Turkey's assault, Syrian Kurdish forces have the ISIS threat to contend with.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that Turkey would risk "serious consequences" if it doesn't cease its attacks and - while announcing that Trump will sign an executive order giving his administration broad authority to hit the country with sanctions - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that "we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to".

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