Kurds mobilize in Syria as Turkey poised for imminent attack

President Donald Trump left talks with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they arrive together for a family

President Donald Trump left talks with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they arrive together for a family

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, speaks with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in an operation room at presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey.

They will be based in the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, it said, across the border from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, with 14,000 of them gradually joining the offensive.

Earlier, Islamic State militants reportedly carried out an attack on the city of Raqqa in northern Syria, including a post manned by us -backed Kurdish-led fighters.

"Such reckless attitude to this highly sensitive subject can set fire to the entire region, and we have to avoid it at any cost", he said during a visit to Kazakhstan.

Turkey launched an assault on Kurdish forces in northern Syria with air strikes and explosions reported along the border.

Donald Trump had pulled out U.S. troops from northern Syria.

"If you are the Kurds, you look at this and say can we afford to have our hands partially tied looking after these people who mean us harm whilst we are going to face some sort of threat from across the border?" a western official who focuses on ISIS told TIME on Monday.

Kurdish forces allied with the U.S. issued a "general mobilization" call Wednesday in northeastern Syria amid worries of a "humanitarian catastrophe" from an expected invasion by Turkey.

"This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded", the SDF said.

The president said in a statement that Turkey had committed to "ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place - and we will hold them to this commitment".

"The U.S.is abandoning our ally the Kurds, who fought ISIS on the ground and helped protect the U.S. homeland".

Ankara said the SDF is affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state since the 1980s.

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Turkey said its military had struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce the region.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest foreign ally, said Washington or Ankara did not tell them in advance about any agreements to pull out United States troops.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday described Turkey's incursion into northern Syria as a "bad idea".

He responded to the criticism by threatening to "obliterate" Turkey's economy if it went "off limits" in the incursion, saying Turkey should "not do anything outside of what we would think is humane".

He said no American soldiers are in the area.

"Just as the Kurds had our backs against ISIS, we must have theirs", Hurd said.

The Kurds have always been considered as among Washington's most reliable partners in Syria and in the broader campaign against ISIS in the region. "USA should never have been in Middle East".

Earlier Wednesday, Trump lashed out over sharp criticism of his decision to pull back US troops from northeastern Syria, insisting he is focused on the "BIG PICTURE" that doesn't include American involvement in "stupid endless wars" in the Middle East.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on Monday called the USA withdrawal "a harmful mistake" that could endanger Kurdish troops while undermining this country's credibility with other allies.

Along with Democrats calling for Trump to change course, Republicans have been increasingly vocal in criticizing Trump on the issue. "I hope we can turn the fight against ISIS over to Turkey".

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been an ardent Trump supporter, told Fox News that Turkey wants to "slaughter the Kurds" and that pulling out of the region would be the "biggest mistake of [Trump's] presidency".

Switzerland has joined worldwide leaders in calling for restraint and the respect of humanitarian law after Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria on Wednesday. Warplanes and howitzers would pound enemy positions, then Turkish troops would enter Syria from several points along the border, east of the Euphrates River.

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