Turkey strikes Syria-Iraq border, Lindsey Graham warns ‘sanctions from hell’ looming

The Turkish military bombed the Syria-Iraq border ahead of its planned offensive move into northern Syria.

The overnight strikes on Monday, which were confirmed to Reuters by Turkish officials, were aimed at destroying a Kurdish-used transportation route between Iraq and Syria and followed an announcement by the Trump administration to pull U.S. troops from northeast Syria.

“In this way, the group’s transit to Syria and support lines, including ammunition, are shut off,” the official said.

Kurdish-led forces are seen by Turkey as a terrorist insurgency though many Kurdish fighters have been part of the Syrian Democratic Forces which have been allies with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS in Syria.

Trump’s abrupt policy announcement left many in Washington voicing their criticism and disagreement. But the administration has insisted the withdrawal of troops is not giving Turkey a “green light” to invade Syria.

Though it was not clear if there were any casualties in the strikes, one official told Reuters that the site was made “unusable through various means.” Another official referred to the joint operation by Turkey’s intelligence service and the military as an airstrike.

“The TSK will never tolerate the establishment of a terror corridor on our borders. All preparations for the operation have been completed,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

Reuters reported:

But a Reuters witness saw no sign of military activity near the Turkish border town of Akcakale, across from Syria’s Tel Abyad. Howitzers were placed behind earth embankments on Turkey’s side of the border, pointed toward Syria.

Some 60 km (40 miles) to the west, multiple launch rocket systems mounted on two trucks were deployed behind earth embankments near Suruc, opposite the Syrian border town of Kobani. Artillery was also stationed in the area, and soldiers wandered around a nearby military camp.

 

While Trump promised the Kurdish people’s “wonderful fighters” will continue to receive U.S. aid, he tweeted Tuesday that Turkey has “been good to deal with.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit the White House this month to meet with Trump who is facing heavy criticism from his own party for the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region.

Sen. Lindsey Graham vowed that if Turkey moved its military into northern Syria, that “sanctions from hell” would follow.

Some have blasted the critics for their attacks on Trump and the decision to bring home 1,000 U.S. troops.

Conservative author Ann Coulter had a reality check for the critics.

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs slammed critical “RINO” Republicans on his show Monday, calling them “little people” who owe “the American people and this president an apology.”

“They are fighting with our president over 1,000 of our troops being stuck in northern Syria in grave danger and harm’s way with for national security purpose whatsoever,” Dobbs said.

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Frieda Powers

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