Turkey to invade Northern Syria to attack Kurdish forces

Turkey preparing military operation by land and air in Syria

There was no immediate confirmation from the White House of USA troops clearing positions in areas in northern Syria.

U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has ordered a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

He reminded Trump that a supermajority of lawmakers - more than two-thirds of the full Senate, voted in January to express support for "continued military presence in northeastern Syria".

On Sunday, the White House said in a readout of a call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Ankara would "soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria" - and that United States forces would "no longer be in the immediate area".

Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria have denounced Erdogan's comments and urged the worldwide community to step in to stop a Turkish assault on Syrian territory under their control.

The SDF has been holding some 10,000 male Isil suspects, including an estimated 10 Britons, in prisons across north-eastern Syria, many of which fall inside Turkey's proposed 18-mile deep, 300-mile-long buffer zone.

Turkish state media also reported on military reinforcements sent to the border with Syria after Erdogan's comments.

The move comes after Mr Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan discussed Ankara's plans to establish a "safe zone" east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

The SDF said on Monday US forces have withdrawn from the northeast after failing to meet commitments and it will have a "great negative" impact on its war against ISIS.

Turkey's two previous operations into Syria showed it can deliver a governance model and security for all Syrians, said Altun. The SDF had removed fortification from the areas, considered by Turkey as a threat, and retreated heavy weapons.

The pullback comes in advance of a planned Turkish invasion of the area.

The announcement was met with immediate blowback from some of Trump's closest allies, who said it will endanger the lives of Kurdish allies who have been fighting the Islamic State group in the region.

On the ground, an official from a pro-Ankara rebel group in northern Syria told AFP that Turkish forces had supplied its fighters with "military gear", citing an "all-out mobilization".

Two International aid groups said a Turkish offensive could displace hundreds of thousands of people, and disrupt humanitarian aid to people in displaced camps, including children.

The SDF said in its statement that IS cells would break out detained jihadists from Kurdish prisons and take over camps where their relatives are held, "which is a threat to local and worldwide security".

Mr Trump's surprise move - described by the main Kurdish-led group as a "stab in the back" - goes against the advice of senior officials in the Pentagon and state department.

Turkey wants to act before winter conditions make it hard for tanks to operate in muddy terrain, leaving little room for a last-minute agreement with the U.S.

Addressing an open session of the parliament in Tehran on Sunday, Zarif pointed to the recent tensions between Syrian Kurds and the Turkish government and said, "Regarding the Syrian Kurds, the position of the Islamic Republic is completely clear". This morning he appeared to signal the start of a United States troop pullout from Syria and seemed to be washing his hands of the country, implicitly giving a green light for a major Turkish incursion.

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