Published: Sun, December 16, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

EU urges Turkey to refrain from 'unilateral' Syria move

EU urges Turkey to refrain from 'unilateral' Syria move

US -backed, Kurdish-led fighters captured the last town held by ISIS on Friday, after three months of ferocious battles in the militants' single remaining enclave in eastern Syria, activists and Kurdish officials said.

Since September 10, SDF fighters backed by US -led coalition airstrikes have killed 922 ISIS jihadis in and around the group's last enclave, the Observatory notes.

Eight weeks of fighting has seen US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) take back Hajin using airstrikes by United States jets. Those operations have driven the militants in Syria southward into a small pocket of organized resistance near the Iraqi border, according to administration officials.

The Syrian Democratic Forces secured Hajin, the largest settlement in what is the last pocket of territory controlled by ISIS, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

IS fighters pulled back to positions east of Hajin Friday and to Sousa and Al-Shaafa, the other two main villages in their shrinking Euphrates valley enclave.

But the recapture of Hajin in north-eastern Syria comes as Turkey threatens a military assault against the same US-backed fighters.

The Pentagon has said that a potential Turkish military incursion into north-east Syria, where some of the US's 2,000 military personnel in Syria are based, was "of grave concern" and that it "would find any such actions unacceptable". But that allegiance is opposed by Turkey due to the connections of certain participating Kurdish militias to groups designated by Ankara as terrorist organizations due to an ongoing insurgency at home.

Democrat Pelosi agrees to term limits, smoothing road to be House speaker
If there is no deal, Trump would be shuttering the very agency in charge of border security - the Department of Homeland Security. "I said you probably don't know who I spoke most about on the campaign trail - what president I spoke most about".

Turkish President Erdogan has signaled a third operation in northern Syria against the US-backed YPG, whose parent organisation PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by both Washington and Ankara.

Top administration officials, including President Donald Trump, scrambled this week to head off a Turkish attack against U.S. Kurdish allies in northern Syria, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced an imminent assault.

"They promised us they would empty it of terrorists and send them east of the Euphrates, but they didn't", said Mr Erdogan.

Soon after the Assad regime withdrew from northern Syria during the civil war, the YPG moved in, creating "cantons", or autonomous areas, in the region in 2012.

"Here is what we say: either you clean the city and (the YPG) leave, or we´re going into Manbij as well", he warned.

Washington has advised the leaders of Syrian opposition factions not to join the Turkish Army in an operation it intends to launch against Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates River.

Like this: