‘Stab in the back’: Turkey starts bombing Kurds who fought ISIS in Syria after US withdrawal
Turkish warplanes reportedly began bombing Kurdish positions in Syria, just hours after the US announced it was pulling troops from the region in an abrupt foreign policy change slammed as a “stab in the back”.
The bombings started late on Monday, with Turkish Air Force jets targeting the Semalka Border Crossing at the Iraq border in northeast Syria, local media reported.
According to local sources, Turkish forces also attacked SDF positions in the city of al-Malikiyah in the Hasakah area in northern Syria.
The SDF includes Kurds and others in eastern Syria which the US has helped train, assist and advise during the war on ISIS.
There were also reports of artillery bombardment targeting the border area between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, with the Turkish Foreign Minister describing the actions as a “temporary measure”.
“They abandoned us in the middle of struggle against ISIS,” General Mazloum Ebdi, commander of the majority Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, said.
“Turkey’s unprovoked attack on our areas will have a negative impact on our fight against ISIS and the stability and peace we have created in the region in recent years,” said the SDF in a press statement. “As the Syrian Democratic Forces, we are determined to defend our land at all costs.”
“The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area,” the White House press secretary said on Monday morning.
Despite the US decision, tens of trucks carrying logistic and military assistance, including military vehicles of the International Coalition, have entered from the Kurdistan region of Iraq to the north-east of Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
In a tweet later on Monday, President Trump wrote: “If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey”.
President Trump defended his sudden decision to pull back US troops from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for the Turkish military invasion against Kurdish forces.
Turkey views the Kurds, who fought alongside American forces to defeat ISIS, as a threat to the country.