Turkey Gains Ground in Key Syria Border Town

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ANKARA — Turkish troops and Syrian National Army gained ground in Ras al Ayn, a key border town where YPG is being fought, a war monitor said.

“There have been intensive air strikes on Ras al Ayn over the past three days,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

Turkish forces and the mostly Arab and Turkmen former rebels in the ground force had “taken about half of the town” by Thursday morning, he said.

Massively outgunned by the Turkish army and its airforce, the YPG quickly lost a long stretch of the border when the assault was launched on October 9.

A rights watchdog has accused the YPG of killing 1,157 civilians in northern Syria from 2012 until September of 2019.

According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), 203 of the victims were children and 47 people –– including one child ––were tortured to death.

The human rights violations were documented in the provinces of Al Hasakah, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, Hama, and Homs.

Some 3,100 people are in detention centres held by the terrorist group in northern Syria, the SNHR said.

SNHR is a non-profit organisation that documents human rights violations in Syria since 2011.

‘Don’t be a tough guy’ – Trump letter warns Erdogan 

US President Donald Trump warned Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan in a letter about Turkey’s operation in Syria “don’t be a tough guy”.

The October 9 letter was released by the White House on Wednesday as Trump battled to control the political damage following his decision to pull the US troops out of northern Syria, clearing the way for the Turkish operation against America’s terrorist allies.

“Let’s work out a good deal!” Trump said in the letter. “You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy – and I will.”

Trump’s letter release came after US lawmakers have been sharply critical of his decision to remove American forces from the conflict zone.

The president wrote that the commander of the US-backed PKK/YPG Mazloum Kobani Abdi was willing to negotiate and to make some concessions.

He said he had confidentially enclosed to Erdogan a copy of a letter Mazloum had sent him.

Pence and Pompeo scheduled to meet Erdogan

Tough talks on Syria are expected in Ankara on Thursday as Turkish President Erdogan is scheduled to meet the US Vice President Mike Pence and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Ahead of their flight, the top US diplomats said they want to find a solution to the situation in Syria that threatens the relationship between Turkey and the US.

PKK ‘probably worse at terror’ than Daesh – Trump 

Trump said on Wednesday that the PKK terror group, which has waged a decades-long terror campaign against Turkey were “probably” a bigger terror threat than Daesh.

“The PKK, which is a part of the Kurds, as you know, is probably worse at terror and more of a terrorist threat in many ways than ISIS [Daesh],” Trump told a news conference at the White House.

“If you look at PKK, take a look at PKK, ISIS [Daesh] respects PKK. You know why? Because they’re as tough or tougher than ISIS [Daesh].”

“We are making” the YPG/PKK “look like angels,” he added.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK –  listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

YPG/PKK told to lay down arms and withdraw

By tonight all terrorists must lay down their arms, destroy their traps and leave the safe zone Turkey determined, Turkish President Erdogan said in Ankara.

Addressing a session of the Justice and Development (AK) Party, Erdogan said Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria will end when all terrorists leave the safe zone.

“The Republic of Turkey never sat at a table with terror groups; we are not looking for a mediator for that,” Erdogan said, rejecting US and Russian overtures for a ceasefire.

“Turkey dismantled Daesh with Operation Euphrates Shield,” he said. Accusing Turkey’s allies of supporting terrorists instead of Ankara, Erdogan said, “Now the YPG/PKK has released Daesh terrorists from prisons – we are going to destroy them both.”

He accused Turkey’s partners of being “two-faced” and not doing enough.

“Of the six million who fled Syria, four million actually came to Turkey. Let us not forget, almost all of these refugees are Arabs. I want to ask the Arab League how many Syrian Arabs have they accepted.”

He said Turkey presented its recommendations to the Assad regime for peace before Syria plunged into war in 2011.

Erdogan, who is expected to visit the US in November, said he will evaluate that decision after meeting a Washington delegation in Turkey this week.

Female Daesh members released by YPG in Syria – report

At least 10 French female Daesh members jailed in a prison in northern Syria’s Ain Issa were released amid the recent operation, French newspaper Le Parisien reported.

The newspaper said the women, along with their 25 children, were told to run away by YPG/PKK members who fled the area amid the conflict.

It also said, one of the women contacted the newspaper asking for help as France would not repatriate them.

Other escapees prefered to stay in Syria rather than face imprisonment in France and hoped to join their husbands hiding in Idlib, Le Parisien wrote.

Turkish forces kill 637 YPG/PKK terrorists

Turkish forces have killed a total of 637 YPG/PKK terrorists as part of Turkey’s anti-terror operation in Syria, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said.

The announcement came via the ministry’s official Twitter account.

Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria entered its eighth day today.

Communications and equipment being destroyed

Syrian Kurdish sources told TRT World that American forces deployed to northern Syria alongside YPG forces are destroying laptops, cellphones and other electronic devices, which apparently contain communications and other sensitive information regarding the YPG and US relationship.

“Two days ago, Americans made a big fire, burning cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices in Harabes,” a source from southern Turkey told TRT World.

Harabes is a village located between Tal Abyad and Kobani, a border town where the Americans have a military base.

Turkey’s op ‘currently’ no threat to jails – France

France said on Wednesday that the security of YPG-run prisons holding suspected militants in northern Syria was “currently” not threatened by a Turkish military operation in the region.

“To my knowledge, the Turkish offensive and the positioning of the [YPG-led] SDF have so far not led to the safety and security of these camps … currently being threatened,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French broadcaster BFMTV and RMC radio.

At least 46 Syrian National Army (SNA) soldiers killed

At least 46 Syrian National Army (SNA) soldiers were killed during Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria since its launch last week.

A total of 136 SNA soldiers have also been injured during Operation Peace Spring.

Erdogan rejects call for ceasefire in Syria

President Erdogan said he rejected a call from US President Donald Trump to declare a ceasefire and halt Turkey’s anti-terror Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria.

Erdogan said, “They say ‘declare a ceasefire.’ We could never declare a ceasefire against terrorists.”

He also said that Turkey’s operation in northern Syria will continue until all of its objectives are met and that he is not worried about sanctions, according to a report on local NTV.

The Turkish president added that talks with US and Russia on Syrian towns of Ayn al Arab and Manbij continue.

Erdogan’s statement follows a deal reached between Assad regime and the YPG terrorist group in northern Syria after US troops pulled out of the region.

Syrian regime’s entry into Manbij ‘not very negative’ 

Turkish President Erdogan said the Syrian regime’s presence in northern city of Manbij was not a “very negative” development for his country, in comments published in the Hurriyet daily on Wednesday.

“The regime’s entry into Manbij is not a very, very negative (development) to us. Why? Because it is their own land,” Erdogan told journalists in a plane en route from Azerbaijan. He added that although the regime’s movement was not concerning, he did not want any terrorists to remain there.

The Turkish president also said that an attack from northern Syria’s Manbij town that killed one Turkish soldier, earlier on Tuesday, was launched by Syrian regime forces and Turkey’s retaliatory fire had made the regime pay a heavy price in response.

Erdogan’s statement follows a deal reached between Assad regime and the YPG terrorist group in northern Syria after US troops pulled out of the region.

Syrian regime’s entry into Manbij ‘not very negative’ 

Turkish President Erdogan said the Syrian regime’s presence in northern city of Manbij was not a “very negative” development for his country, in comments published in the Hurriyet daily on Wednesday.

“The regime’s entry into Manbij is not a very, very negative (development) to us. Why? Because it is their own land,” Erdogan told journalists in a plane en route from Azerbaijan. He added that although the regime’s movement was not concerning, he did not want any terrorists to remain there.

The Turkish president also said that an attack from northern Syria’s Manbij town that killed one Turkish soldier, earlier on Tuesday, was launched by Syrian regime forces and Turkey’s retaliatory fire had made the regime pay a heavy price in response.

Erdogan’s statement follows a deal reached between Assad regime and the YPG terrorist group in northern Syria after US troops pulled out of the region.

Operation Peace Spring clears 1,000 sq km of terrorists 

Just seven days after it began, Turkey’s ongoing anti-terror operation has cleared a vast area of northern Syria from terrorist oppression, according to Turkish President Erdogan.

“As of this morning [Tuesday], we have liberated an area of around 1,000 square kilometres from the occupation of the separatist terror group,” Erdogan told the 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.

“Terror groups are the biggest source of threat to peace, tranquillity, and stability in our region,” Erdogan said.

Britain backs Turkey at NATO meet

Close allies of Britain have condemned it for defending Turkey’s operation in northern Syria in a Nato meeting in London, The Telegraph reported on Monday.

It said the UK was left isolated after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the gathering that “Turkey needs to do what it sometimes has to do to defend itself.”

“It is absolutely clear that Turkey has had, and still does have, a threat emanating towards it from groups such as the PKK, a terrorist organisation in this country as well, and that Turkey needs to do what it sometimes has to do to defend itself,” Wallace said.

“However, it is our view that what has happened at present needs to be taken in a measured way in order for that security to take place for Turkey, but in a way that upholds the value of international law and humanitarian rights.”

c..trtworld.com

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