Syria: Turkish offensive anchored in Erdogan's expansionist illusions
Iran Press TV
Thu Oct 17, 2019 01:40PM
The Syrian government has strongly condemned the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish soldiers and allied Takfiri militants against Kurdish forces in the northern part of the war-battered Arab country, saying the military operation has its roots in the "expansionist ambitions and illusions" of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's administration.
"Despite widespread international condemnation, Erdogan's regime still insists on its naked aggression towards Syria, and wreaks death and destruction through gross violation of all international regulations and principles in a way that clearly exposes the real face of Erdogan's fascist regime," an unnamed official source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates told Syria's official news agency SANA in a statement on Thursday.
The source added, "This treacherous Turkish aggression is the outcome of the expansionist ambitions and illusions of Erdogan's regime, and it affirms that the regime is classified among terrorist groups to which it has provided all forms of support. The offensive deals a heavy blow to the efforts aimed at finding a solution to the crisis in Syria. It makes, therefore, the Turkish regime lose its position as a guarantor of the Astana peace process as its aggression completely contradicts the principles and decisions of the process."
The Syrian Foreign Ministry source reaffirmed his country's "complete rejection and strong condemnation of the blatant Turkish aggression and interference in Syria's domestic affairs," saying that Damascus also "asserts the solidarity and unity of the Syrian nation under the aegis of the national flag to confront the Turkish aggression, preserve Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and prevent others from interfering in Syria's internal affairs."
"The entire international community should assume the responsibility to pressure Erdogan's regime to put an end to its aggression on Syria, hold it fully to account for potential repercussions, and to force the Turkish regime to abandon its destructive policies, which pose a threat to regional and global security, peace and stability," the source concluded.
Syria Kurds urge civilian corridor for people to leave border town
In a relevant development, Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria called for a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from Ra's al-Ayn border town, which is currently encircled by Ankara's forces.
"It is the first real advance of the Turkish forces inside the city, following fierce resistance by the [so-called] Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)," a Britain-based monitoring group said.
According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the regional Kurdish administration called for "urgent intervention to open a safe humanitarian corridor to evacuate dead and wounded civilians trapped in Ra's al-Ayn."
The head of the observatory, Rami Abdul Rahman, was quoted by AFP as saying that Ankara's forces had taken about half of the town by Thursday morning, adding, "There have been intensive airstrikes on Ra's al-Ayn over the past three days."
Kurds accuse Turkey of using banned incendiary weapons
Furthermore, Syrian Kurds have accused Turkey of resorting to banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus in their cross-border assault.
The Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria, in a statement released on Thursday, said Turkey had resorted to the use of such weapons as it was met with unexpectedly stiff resistance by Kurdish fighters in the key border town of Ra's al-Ayn.
"The Turkish aggression is using all available weapons against Ra's al-Ayn," the statement read.
"Faced with the obvious failure of his plan, Erdogan is resorting to weapons that are globally banned such as phosphorus and napalm," it added.
Earlier in the day, SANA, citing local sources, reported that several Ra's al-Ayn residents had arrived at Hasakah hospital with "severe burns," which were apparently caused by "unknown chemical substances."
Press TV cannot independently verify the reports.
Ra's al-Ayn has been the scene of battles between Kurdish militants and the Turkish military. There have been reports of Turkish strikes and shelling in the northern city over the past days.
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeast Syria in a declared attempt to push Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Russia concerned about humanitarian situation in NE Syria
In a relevant development on Thursday, the Kremlin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia was concerned about the humanitarian situation in northern Syria following Turkey's military incursion.
"President Putin in his recent phone conversation (with President Erdogan) has expressed concern over possible humanitarian consequences of this (military) operation. Our position remains the same," the official said.
Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan were to discuss Turkey's operation in Syria at a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday, October 22.
"The situation in the northeast of Syria remains uneasy because of this operation. Of course, it will be a very important topic at the talks on Tuesday between President Putin and President Erdogan," the Kremlin's spokesman added.
Daesh says female members held by Syrian Kurdish forces freed
Separately, the Daesh terror group said on Thursday it had "freed" women held by Syrian Kurdish forces.
The Takfiris, in a statement released on the Telegram messaging application, said they had stormed a security headquarters west of its former stronghold of Raqqah on Wednesday, and freed several women "kidnapped" by the Kurds.
Turkey's invasion of northeastern Syria has caused widespread alarm. European governments fear the cross-border offensive could lead to a resurgence of Daesh that has wreaked havoc through attacks in the West and formerly controlled parts of Syria and Iraq.
According to Syrian Kurds, hundreds of Daesh relatives have already tried to escape since Ankara launched its offensive more than a week ago.
On Sunday, Kurdish authorities said nearly 800 relatives of foreign Daesh terrorists had escaped from a Kurdish-run displacement camp in the northern Syrian town of Ayn Isa.
At least three French women who had left the camp have since joined up with Daesh, according to AFP.
Five Daesh extremists escaped from a prison near the northeastern city of Qamishli last week, according to Kurdish forces.
According to the Kurdish-led authority in northeast Syria, there are around 12,000 suspected Daesh militants in the custody of Kurdish forces across prisons in northeastern Syria.
At least 2,500 of them are non-Iraqi foreigners of more than 50 different nationalities. Tunisia is thought to have the biggest number of citizens.
On Wednesday, militants from the Kurdish-led and so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they were suspending operations against Daesh terrorists.
"We have frozen all our actions against Daesh," the SDF commander-in-chief, Mazloum Abdi, told Kurdish-language Ronahi television network in an exclusive interview.
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