Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation ‘Euphrates Shield’

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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On Monday, special presidential envoy for the coalition against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Brett McGurk, urged for the “unacceptable” clashes between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Turkish troops, who are allied with theFree Syrian Army (FSA) to end.

Over the weekend Turkey targeted the PYD in Jeb el-Kussaa, near the border of Turkey in Northern Syria. Reports state at least 20 civilians died, and 50 were wounded due to Turkish air-strikes and artillery fire. On Sunday, another 15 civilians died, many of which are reported to be Kurdish civilians. So far, 35 civilians have died due to the operation, however on Monday, Turkey refuted this and claims only 25 Kurdish militants died in the strikes.

Turkish forces in allegiance with the (FSA) and backed by the U.S, launched operation “Euphrates Shield” on August 24, and quickly captured the ISIL held city of Jarabulus, where ISIL fighters seem to have fled without a fight. Approximately 40 Turkish tanks and 2,000 FSA troops entered Jarabulus via the Turkish border that day. In support of the operation, U.S. A-10 and F-16 warplanes also hit targets within Syria.

Turkish President, Recap Tayyip Erdogan said operation “Euphrates Shield” targets “terrorist groups” such as ISIL and the PYD, who Erdogan claims have been threatening and attacking Turkey from Syria. However analysts have said the operation is really to prevent the PYD, who had been marching towards Jarabulus, from gaining territory in Northern Syria and creating an independent state.

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 for starting an insurgency within Turkey. 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.

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. Later that day, US State Secretary John Kerry said the Syrian Kurdistan forces had retreated east from Euphrates.

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.” Following a complaint from Syria to the United Nations (UN), a spokesman from Secretary General Stephane Dujarric de la Rivière, confirmed Turkey’s actions were considered an invasion.


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