Turkey has accidentally bombed US special forces in Syria

Clay Curtis
October 13, 2019

The commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces told a senior U.S. diplomat, "You are leaving us to be slaughtered", demanding to know whether the United States is going to do anything to protect Syrian Kurds as Turkey continues its military operation targeting America's Kurdish allies in Syria. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.

The Kurdish forces, who partnered with the U.S.in the fight against IS, say they may not be able to maintain detention facilities holding thousands of militants as they struggle to stem the Turkish advance. The Arab League has denounced the operation.

It came after US President Donald Trump withdrew some of his country's troops who had been backing Kurdish forces in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS). President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to send them to Europe if the European Union does not back his assault.

"We are not going to remain powerless in the face of this situation, which is a shock both for civilians and for Kurdish forces".

The region's Kurdish-led administration said in a statement that 785 IS-affiliated foreigners had fled the camp at Ain Issa. The SDF has been keeping thousands of IS jihadists in jail and tens of thousands of their family members in camps.

"The guarding is very weak now", he said, adding there were now just 60-70 security personnel at the camp compared with a normal level of no less than 700 in the camp of 12,000 people.

French President Emmanuel Macron issued a similar warning earlier on Thursday, urging Turkey to end its "unilateral" attack on Kurdish forces "as quickly as possible".

Turkish fighter jets and heavy artillery units have bombarded Ras al-Ain - one of two key border towns targeted in Ankara's offensive, alongside Tal Abyad - for days.

Huge explosions and plumes of smoke could be seen in border areas.

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The Syrian Observatory said the SDF, in which the YPG comprises the main fighting element, had recovered "almost full control" of Ras al Ain after a counter-attack.

A spokesman for the National Army denied this, saying its forces were still in the positions they took on Saturday. "I need to know, because if you're not, I need to make a deal with Russian Federation and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region", Mazloum said.

OCHA and other relief agencies estimated that up to 400,000 civilians in the Syrian conflict zone might require aid and protection in the coming period.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has "expressed the UK's grave concern about Turkey's military operation in northern Syria" to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Four Turkish soldiers have been killed, Turkey's defense ministry and state-run Anadolu news agency said, while the Observatory said the Kurds have lost control of 27 villages since Wednesday. The SDF said 76 of its fighters have been killed.

On the Syrian side at least 38 civilians have been killed, the Britain-based Observatory said, and 18 civilians inside Turkey have died from Kurdish shelling, according to Turkish reports.

He also said it appears the US -backed Kurdish forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, are trying to "cut a deal" with the Syrian army and Russian Federation to launch a counterattack against the Turks.

In its first big attack since the assault began, ISIL claimed responsibility for a deadly auto bomb in Qamishli, the biggest city in the Kurdish-held area of Syria, even as the city came under heavy Turkish shelling.

Donald Trump has faced a firestorm of criticism, even from his own domestic supporters, for abandoning a loyal ally and stands accused of giving Turkey a green light to launch the offensive after ordering American troops to pull back from the border.

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