Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation “Euphrates Shield”

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Friday, August 26, 2016

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On Wednesday, Turkish forces in allegiance with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and backed by the United States (U.S.), launched operation “Euphrates Shield” and quickly captured the ISIL held city of Jarabulus, which is located on the border of Turkey in Northern Syria. Many Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters seem to have fled without a fight.

Turkish President, Recap Tayyip Erdogan said operation “Euphrates Shield” would target “terrorist groups” such as ISIL and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), who Erdogan claims have been threatening and attacking Turkey from Syria. However analysts have said the operation is really aimed at the PYD who had been marching towards Jarabulus, and are also allied with the U.S. and Israel.

Ankara considers the PYD and its military wing (YPG) to be a faction of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who are regarded as enemies of the Turkish government. Earlier this month, the YPG helped regain control of the formerly ISIL held city of Manjib, and have been deemed as one of the strongest U.S. backed forces in Syria.

Approximately 40 Turkish tanks, and 2,000 FSA troops entered Jarabulus on midday via the Turkish border. Unconfirmed reports also state the operation involved artillery, MLRS, and Turkish commandos. According to the Turkish military, 224 airstrikes were carried out on 63 targets, which destroyed 12. In support of the operation, U.S. A-10 and F-16 warplanes also hit targets within Syria.

The Syrian regime condemned Turkey’s actions claiming their invasion violates Syria’s sovereignty and added that Turkey was merely “replacing one terrorist group with another.”

On Thursday, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. sided with Turkey’s demands and asked the Kurdish troops to withdraw over the Euphrates River or risk losing U.S. support.


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