Lavrov: US Syria Policies Full of Contradictions, Could 'Ignite' Whole Region

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham R-S.C. takes questions from reporters following a closed-door briefing on Iran at the Capitol in Washington Wednesday Sept. 25 2019

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham R-S.C. takes questions from reporters following a closed-door briefing on Iran at the Capitol in Washington Wednesday Sept. 25 2019

Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in north-east Syria, with air strikes hitting the border town of Ras al Ain.

These facilities are now controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the USA -backed alliance comprised mostly of Kurdish fighting units known as the YPG, which were instrumental in routing ISIS from its Syrian strongholds. We didn't respond to this unprovoked attack.

"The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly", Altun said in a tweet extracted from a column written by him which was published in the Washington Post.

Turkish and Syrian rebel forces will "shortly" begin an offensive into northern Syria, the Turkish president's communications director has said, as US President Donald Trump insisted Washington had not abandoned its Kurdish allies by pulling forces out of the area.

Trump sought to explain his position by stressing that Washington has an important relationship with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and trading partner Turkey.

He warned Ankara "any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency". "We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!"

"Erdogan dubbed the operation as "#OperationPeaceSpring", in his tweet. The below is from Akcakale, on the Turkish border with Syria.

Trump, in a break with many Republicans, has called for less U.S. military involvement overseas and says USA troops completed their mission in Syria of fighting the Islamic State movement.

US Defence Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said: "Unfortunately, Turkey has chosen to act unilaterally". Republican critics and others said he was sacrificing a USA ally, the Syrian Kurds, and undermining American credibility.

"The decision was made without consulting US allies or senior US military leadership and threatens to affect future partnerships at precisely the time we need them most", retired Gen. Joseph Votel, who led US Central Command from March 2016 to March 2019, wrote in an opinion piece in The Atlantic.

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Trump denied he had abandoned the forces, the most capable US partners in fighting Islamic State in Syria. Other lawmakers warned the decision would only benefit Russia, Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as allow IS to regain momentum. "Disappointment that we are letting down our partners, perhaps adding to the humanitarian disaster in this region".

It could also be seen as Trump being Trump.

"We have people who were displaced from Afrin because of the Turkish invasion - they are anxious that they will be displaced once again", he said, referring to Ankara's 2018 military offensive against a Kurdish enclave west of Tel Abyad.

Russian Federation criticizes "reckless attitude" of U.S.

Another senior administration official who spoke to reporters on Monday said Turkey "would bear full responsibility" if the Islamic State (IS) reconstitutes in the wake of the crisis, but did not make clear how the United States planned to hold Ankara responsible for maintaining overcrowded detention facilities now under Kurdish control, including Al-Hol.

"This is one of the options that we have on the table", he said.

The government "is ready to embrace its prodigal sons if they return to their senses", it added, an apparent reference to Syrian Kurdish authorities who hold the northeast.

The Turkish operation would ignite new fighting in the war-ravaged country's eight-year-old war, potentially displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

Analysts say this operation would likely be more complicated. "It's very hard to predict when any military operation might start". "It's the worst possible thing we could be doing right now".

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