Turkey launches military operation in northeast Syria

Protesters gathered outside Sydney's Town Hall

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who operate in the area are U.S. allies.

Kurdish-led forces have denounced the U.S. policy shift as a "stab in the back". It will be supported by artillery and howitzer fire.

"All the shops around me are open, except that there are no people", Mohammed said in a telephone interview.

Kurdish politician Nawaf Khalil, who is in northern Syria, said some people were leaving the town for villages farther south.

The SDF suspended their counter-ISIS operations amid the bombardment in order to focus on the Turkish offensive.

Turkey has the largest refugee population in the world, and the presence of Syrians in the country has increasingly led to animosity from Turks who blame them for crime, unemployment and the dilution of Turkish culture. "We will use all our possibilities against Turkish aggression", the group's spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, announcing the start of the action, said the aim was to eliminate what he called a "terror corridor" on Turkey's southern border, but European countries immediately called on Ankara to halt the operation.

Lavrov said during a visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday that the USA first propped up the Syrian Kurdish "quasi state" in northeastern Syria and is now withdrawing its support.

Turkish presidential spokesperson Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter that Kurdish YPG fighters had two options, either to defect or to be "stopped" from disrupting Turkey's "counter-ISIS efforts". "The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!"

A Turkish miltary convoy is pictured in Kilis near the Turkish-Syrian border, Turkey, Oct. 9, 2019.

Russian Federation and Iran, the other two major foreign powers in Syria, strongly support President Bashar al-Assad - unlike Turkey and the United States which both called for him to stand down and supported rebels fighting to overthrow him.

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Turkey's Demiroren news agency said Syrian rebels had traveled from northwest Syria to Turkey in preparation for the incursion. "The aggressive behavior of the Erdogan regime clearly shows the Turkish expansionist ambitions in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic and can not be justified under any pretext", a source at the Foreign Ministry said, SANA reported.

The statement said the mobilization would last for three days.

Mr Erdogan earlier told Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that the operation would help peace and stability in Syria.

Trump said he is "slowly & carefully" bringing home "our great soldiers & military", in line with his campaign promise to do so.

The SDF called on on the worldwide community Tuesday to help avoid a possible humanitarian disaster. "United States of America should never have been in Middle East", Trump said on Twitter.

"Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years".

The YPG denies that it is a terror organization but says it aspires to the ideals of the PKK's founding leader, Abdullah Öcalan. We didn't respond to this unprovoked attack.

Outside experts have cautioned that a large-scale Turkish operation, if it precipitated a security breakdown at prisons holding Islamic State militants, could prompt a larger U.S. withdrawal from Syria. Patrolling with Turkey and worldwide forces to protect the Kurds and Turkey is the way to go.

In his statement Wednesday, Trump said Turkey is now "responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form". However, according to the White House, this responsibility will now fall to Turkey. Experts who spoke to Al-Monitor said the incursion would likely be limited and face stiff resistance from the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which have received backing from the Pentagon.

He said, "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".

The SDF said the Syrian towns of Qamishli and Ain Issa were also targeted by Turkish warplanes. "Our message to worldwide community is clear".

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