UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) — US-led forces have withdrawn from areas along the border with Turkey and an attack Ankara threatens to carry out in the region would have a “significant negative” impact on the Islamic State, Kurdish-led forces said on Monday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said US forces had withdrawn from an area between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.
The US-led coalition, which has deployed troops in northern and eastern Syria, did not respond to a request for comment.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls large parts of northeastern Syria on the border with Turkey, said in a statement they would “not hesitate for a moment” to defend themselves against the expected Turkish offensive.
The White House said on Sunday evening that Turkish troops would soon go ahead with their long-planned military operation there to create what it calls a “safe area” and that US forces would not participate or support the Turkish operation.
“Despite our efforts to avoid any military escalation with Turkey and the flexibility we have shown to move forward to establish a border security mechanism and to fulfill all our obligations in this regard, the US forces have not fulfilled their commitments and withdrew their forces from the territories,” the SDF statement said.
“Turkey is now preparing for an invasion of northern and eastern Syria,” the statement added.
He warned that “this Turkish military operation in northern and eastern Syria will have a significant negative impact on our war on ISIS and will destroy all the stability achieved during the past years.”
The statement was issued after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump discussed in a phone call Turkey’s plans to establish a “safe zone” east of the Euphrates River in Syria.
Mustafa Bali, an official with the Syrian Democratic Forces, said on Twitter that US forces had begun withdrawing from the border, leaving the area to turn into a war zone.
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