Conflict intensifies between Syria and Turkey

photo credit: US Army photo by Sgt. Andrew Goedel

photo credit: US Army photo by Sgt. Andrew Goedel

Olivia Frey, Reporter

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On October 9, Turkey launched its military offensives in Syria, specifically targeting the Kurds. The plan is meant to push back the Kurds away from the Turkish border. 

Targeted villages such as Misharrafa, Sikarkah, and eastern Qamshli were put under fire as Turkey attacked Syrian soil with airstrikes and artillery fire. Under the circumstances, people fled to safety under the chaotic situation, with roads being blocked by hundreds of families.

While Trump was the one who pulled the last straw on the camel’s back, he said he did not “endorse” Turkey’s plans.

 “From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars — especially those that don’t benefit the United States … We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

This offence was caused by Trump issuing a statement stating that the US will be withdrawing troops from the Syrian-Turkish border, allowing Turkish officials to carry on with their established military plans, which hasn’t been received well back in the US.

For instance, the statement has made him lose support amongst fellow Republican senators. Senator Lindsey Graham is one of them, who described the situation as an “impulsive decision by the president” that was “shortsighted and irresponsible”. 

The statement indicates that the president approves of Turkey’s plan. The statement also clarifies that “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate’, will no longer be in the immediate area.”

The targets for Turkey’s plans include Tal Abayad and Ras al Ayn. Ironically, back in 2014-15, Abayad was the primary supply route for ISIS because of Turkey’s open border. 

Unfortunately for Trump, the statement has made him lose support amongst fellow Republican senators. For instance, Lindsey Graham, who described the situation as an “impulsive decision by the president” that was “shortsighted and irresponsible”. 

Because of the backlash, Trump took to Twitter to defend his stance: “We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters,” he said.

  Trump also claims that since relations with Turkey have been “very good”, and that there is a large number of Kurdish people already living in Turkey, the plan will help the Kurds financially. “Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully understands that while we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency.”