Kurdish forces mobilize in Syria amid worries Turkey will invade region

Protesters gathered outside Sydney's Town Hall

Protesters gathered outside Sydney's Town

On Sunday, when announcing the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from northern Syria which was widely considered as "giving a green light" to a long-awaited Turkish incursion there, U.S. President Donald Trump touched upon a hot potato.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Turkey to show restraint and avoid military action in the region, adding that USA forces should leave the region.

Trump denied he had abandoned the Kurdish forces, who were the most capable U.S. partners in fighting Islamic State in Syria.

In series of tweets from the verified Twitter account of the SDF, the General Command said the border areas of northeast Syria "are on the edge of a possible humanitarian catastrophe".

"Presidents do a lot of things, but the most consequential are decisions of war and peace like this, and you can't make decisions on a haphazard basis after a single call with a foreign leader", McGurk said.

"War has been chasing us for years, and everyday Erdogan threatens us with a new attack", he added.

Founded in 2003, the PYD and its military wing the YPG are the ideological sister group of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long conflict with Turkey. The sound of planes could he heard above and smoke was rising from buildings in Ras Al-Ain, he said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) coordination and military operations centre reported "intensive bombardment by Turkish jets on military positions and civilian villages" in the areas of Ras al-Ain, Tal Abyad, Qamishli and Ain Issa.

U.S. troops on Monday started pulling back from areas in northeastern Syria, paving the way for a Turkish incursion. He added, "There are no American soldiers in the area".

"As threats and mobilization of the Turkish Army and its mercenaries escalate. we call on our people.to go to the area bordering Turkey to carry out their moral duty and show resistance at these sensitive historical moments", an SDF statement said. The AP could not verify the report independently.

The troops had served as a buffer preventing a long-planned attack by Turkey against Kurdish forces, who were crucial in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State group but are viewed as "terrorists" by Ankara. More than 2 million people live in the area impacted by the attacks, according to aid groups. A Syrian war monitoring group, the United Kingdom -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported Wednesday that people were fleeing the border town of Tal Abyad, which Turkey is expected to attack first.

In addition, Turkey wants to expell Syrian refugees from Turkey and resettle them in a "safe zone" it plans to create in northern Syria. It also would ignite new fighting in Syria's 8-year-old war, potentially displacing hundreds of thousands. The area is about 620 kilometres, or 385 miles, north of Tehran. The resident, who gave his name as Maher, said the road to Raqqa was packed with vehicles and families, some fleeing on foot "to get away from the bombing". A witness reached by telephone said civilians were fleeing en masse.

Turkey has been preparing for the attack on the Kurdish fighters in Syria, who they consider as terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency.

Mr Trump denied cutting the Kurdish forces adrift and threatened to "totally destroy" Turkey's economy if it acted "off limits" in Syria.

An Syrian Democratic Force spokesman appealed to its allies to agree for a "no fly zone".

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close Trump ally, stepped up his criticism of the president Wednesday, telling "Fox & Friends" that if Trump "follows through with this, it would be the biggest mistake of his presidency".

Mr Graham, usually a vocal ally to Mr Trump, has repeatedly criticised Mr Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops.

"Many of these people have already been displaced multiple times and suffered horribly under the brutal rule of ISIS", said Buswell, "only to be facing yet another crisis".

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