SYRIA (TPF) — Turkish forces started traversing the Syrian border on Wednesday, beginning operation in Kurdish-dominated areas of the country’s north, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced.
The Turkish offensive jeopardizes Kurdish-led forces who have remained a key U.S. ally in the bloody fight against ISIS.
Late Sunday, the White House suddenly announced it was removing troops away from the border and that Turkey planned to launch a military offensive.
The Turkish military is working with the Syrian National Army, Erdogan announced, continuing that the area they are targeting encompasses Kurdish fighters as well as ISIS extremists.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Erdogan said.
The White House’s declaration to evacuate posts along the border and give Turkey a free hand in taking on Kurdish groups has sparked an explicit bipartisan backlash in Washington.
Brett McGurk, who was Trump’s special envoy for the fight against ISIS, also criticized the decision in an interview with NPR.
“Presidents do a lot of things, but the most consequential are decisions of war and peace like this, and you can’t make decisions on a haphazard basis after a single call with a foreign leader,” McGurk stated. “This is almost unprecedented.”