Ankara ‘Ready’ for Syria Incursion, Washington Issues Threat
Turkey said on Tuesday it had completed plans to move into northern Syria to create what it is calling a safe zone for refugees from the Syrian civil war. At the same time, US President Donald Trump, who is withdrawing US troops in a move that would enable a Turkish incursion, warned he would “obliterate” Turkey’s economy if Ankara took actions he described as “off limits.” The US president left unsaid exactly what that meant, but Kurdish militias in northern Syria that previously had backing from the United States now fear that Turkish forces would come after them, resulting in a possible bloodbath. Ankara sees the safe zone as a haven for Syrians displaced by civil war, including many of the 3.6 million who have crowded into Turkey since the war began in 2011. The Kurdish militias, who have been among the most relentless fighters against embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are looked upon by the Turks as terrorists aligned with an outlawed Kurdish separatist group in Turkey.