Ankara, October 9: Days after the warning issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has launched a military offensive in northern Syria. The invasion has set the stage for a direct clash between the Turkish forces and the US-backed Kurdish militias. President Erdogan on Wednesday issued a confirmation that his forces has entered into the Syrian territory, with the intent to create a "safe zone" for nearly 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently staying in Turkey.
Erdogan has went ahead with the ambitious military campaign despite a warning issued by US President Donald Trump, who had on Tuesday threatened to "obliterate and completely destroy" the Turkish economy if Erdogan does not back down from the "misadventure".
Erdogan remained unaffected by Trump's threat, saying that his forces are not committing aggression against the Syrian people, but would only fight against the "terrorist YPG forces". The battle would allow Ankara to create a safe zone in northern region of Syria, where the refugees could be rehabilitated.
What Erdogan Said:
#OperationPeaceSpring will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
"Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area," Erdogan said, further adding, "We will preserve Syria's territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists."
Meanwhile, President Trump has evoked criticism back home with his decision to withdraw the US troops from Syria. The move, said some of the members of his own Republican Party, would turn the YPG militias vulnerable to Turkish assault.
The Kurds hold the largest number of ISIS captives, and in case of a full-blown Turkish invasion, it is feared that the Islamic State fighters could be set free and allowed to wreak havoc in the region.
"We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake," said former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, as she protested against Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria.