Turkey plans to launch ground invasion of Syria, targeting Kurds and putting US troops at risk
EXCLUSIVE – A Kurdish general told Fox News that NATO ally Turkey plans to launch a massive ground invasion in Syria, targeting the same Kurdish groups that the US military has partnered with and in which is based on fighting ISIS in northeastern Syria.
The attack could endanger nearly 1,000 US troops stationed in Syria.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the top general of the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces, General Mazloum Abdi, said his forces could no longer help the US fight IS because they are facing attacks Turks
“We did not freeze joint actions against ISIS together with the international coalition on purpose,” General Mazloum said through an interpreter. “But as I say, we had to stop this action as we go because we are under tremendous stress from a possible Turkish incursion into our areas.”
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Turkish mortars, airstrikes and drones began targeting Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Istanbul, which Turkey blamed on Kurdish groups.
General Mazloum said the attack was by ISIS and condemned the attack. He warned that Turkey is using it as a pretense to ethnically cleanse the Kurds. Turkish warplanes struck a military base the US military shares with these Kurdish fighters outside Qamishli, about 30 miles from the Turkish border.
The United States has relied on the SDF to fight IS and for intelligence to target IS leaders such as Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.
In a strong statement Wednesday, the Pentagon said it is “deeply concerned” by the escalation that threatens efforts to defeat ISIS and puts the lives of US personnel working in Syria with local partners to defeat the terror group at risk. .
“An immediate de-escalation is necessary to maintain focus on the defeat-ISIS mission and ensure the safety and security of personnel on the ground engaged in the defeat-ISIS mission,” said Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder, Secretary of the Pentagon press. Fox News in a statement.
“Recent airstrikes in Syria directly threatened the safety of US personnel working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of more than ten thousand IS detainees.”
There are now around 900 US troops on the ground in Syria short of Kurdish partners in the SDF to control ISIS.
US forces were within 300 meters of the SDF base in Hasakah, Syria, at the time of the Turkish airstrike on Tuesday.
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General Mazloum appealed to the American people and the American government to defend the Kurds.
“I want the American people to show the same position that they showed in 2019 when we were again under stress from the Turks,” he said. “Now we are again threatened to be ethnically cleansed here by the Turks. And I am asking the government and people of the United States to stand up for their Kurdish friends here.”