Audrey Conklin, DCNF
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday that the Turkish Armed Forces will lead a military offensive in northern Syria against U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters.
The announcement comes after the White House stated Sunday that the U.S. was preparing to remove its troops from the region.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria,” Erdogan wrote in a Wednesday Twitter post. “Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.”
“With Operation Peace Spring, we will eliminate the threat of terrorism toward our country. Thanks to the SAFE ZONE we will establish, we will ensure that Syrian refugees return to their countries. We will protect the territorial integrity of Syria and free the people of the region from the clutches of terror,” he continued.
Barış Pınarı Harekatı ile,
Ülkemize yönelik terör tehdidini bertaraf edeceğiz.
Oluşturacağımız GÜVENLİ BÖLGE sayesinde Suriyeli sığınmacıların ülkelerine dönmelerini sağlayacağız.
Suriye'nin toprak bütünlüğünü koruyacak, tüm bölge halkını terörün pençesinden kurtaracağız.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
The Turkish Armed Forces began its offensive with airstrikes in border towns targeting Kurdish fighters, which Turkey believes are terrorists, according to The Washington Post.
“Like the United States, Turkey does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. But when monsters attempt to knock down our doors and harm our citizens, we have to respond,” spokesman for Erdogan, Fahrettin Altun, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post Wednesday.
“Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a long-standing threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” he continued.
Trump received harsh criticism for his decision to pull U.S. troops from the region, with most citing concerns for Kurdish soldiers, who have helped the U.S. fight ISIS, as well as threats from Turkish allies Russia, China and Iran.
“We must always have the backs of our allies if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend,” former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley explained in a Monday tweet.