There are serious concerns that Turkey’s planned ground invasion of Syria to wipe out the US-allied Kurds could open the floodgates for the release of thousands of imprisoned Islamic State terrorists.
Syrian Kurdish forces have locked thousands of ISIS terrorists from more than 50 countries in prisons in northeastern Syria.
Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said on Wednesday: “Recent airstrikes in Syria have directly compromised the safety of US personnel working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and keep more than 10,000 ISIS detainees in custody. .”
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Turkey has recently launched airstrikes against the Syrian Kurdish military organization – the People’s Defense Units (YPG) in Syria and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, “This is not limited to just an air campaign,” adding, “We will consult our Defense Ministry and General Staff and decide together what our land forces should contribute, and then take our steps.” The country’s media was previously quoted as saying that Turkey’s defense minister said the operation has killed some 326 enemy combatants so far.
Fighting a resurgence of the Islamic State terror movement remains a top priority for the US military. The US formed an alliance with the YPG to oust ISIS, while the conflict between Erdogan and Kurdish forces in Syria may evolve from local conflict to full-blown war.
Ryder noted that an “immediate de-escalation is necessary to maintain focus on the defeat-ISIS mission and ensure the safety and security of personnel on the ground dedicated to the defeat-ISIS mission.”
Officials at the Turkish Embassy in Washington told Fox News Digital that: “We have repeatedly pointed out threats to our national security emanating from the PKK/YPG terror network in Syria and Iraq. We have always called for unequivocal and sincere solidarity in the face of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
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The Turkish diplomat added: “Despite this, the terrorist organization continued its attacks, recently targeting innocent civilians in the heart of Istanbul. As a result of the attack on November 13, 2022, 6 civilians were killed and 81 injured.”
The US government has classified the PKK as a terrorist organization, but considers the YPG a valuable partner in the fight against the Islamic State.
Ned Price, the spokesman for the US State Department recently said: “We extend our sincere condolences for the loss of civilian life that has occurred in Syria and Turkey” and urged an “immediate de-escalation”.
Intensive Turkish air and drone strikes have killed Syrian Kurds and pulverized critical industries in northern Syria. Sinam Mohamad, the representative of the Syrian Democratic Council in the US, told Fox News Digital.
Mohamad said the region’s Arabs, Christians and Kurds, who make up the area’s 5 million inhabitants, are “suffering”.
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She added that Turkey bombed the region 47 times from November 19 to November 23 and that six Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) soldiers, including two anti-terror soldiers trained by the US, were killed in the airstrikes. army.
Mohamad, who is in contact with Syrians on the ground in the conflict zone, said Turkish forces have killed 15 civilians since the start of this round of airstrikes. “Turkey is now targeting vital infrastructures, power plants, grain silos and oil and gas infrastructures.”
She claimed that the Turks attacked a hospital and that they were ‘aiming very close to an ISIS prison. Imagine if they targeted the prison and the people escaped. It’s a very critical situation. The international community and the UN must take action to prevent Turkey from destabilizing the region.”
A leading expert on Turkey, Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, strongly questioned Turkey’s rationalization for launching its most recent attacks.
He claimed that “the latest terror attack against Istanbul was carried out by Syrian forces dissatisfied with Turkey’s turnaround because Turkey signaled its willingness to normalize relations with Turkey”. [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad,” he told Fox News Digital.
He added: “Erdogan knows very well that it would be a lot easier to punish the Kurds instead of punishing Syrians. We know that the Free Syrian Army is considered an ally of Turkey. If the Free Syrian Army as would be held responsible [for the terror attack in Istanbul]his foreign policy doctrine would collapse.”
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The pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party, has introduced a motion in the Turkish parliament calling for an investigation into the Istanbul attack. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, along with its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party, rejected the inquiry.
All Kurdish forces in Syria, as well as the PKK, have flatly denied responsibility for the Istanbul terrorist attack. SDF commander General Mazloum Abdi, who spoke exclusively to Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, claimed that the bomber in Istanbul came from the Islamic State.
Turkey has captured a Syrian Arab woman who Turkish authorities say confessed to the bombing. Erdogan has been accused of showing sympathy for radical Islamists active in northern Syria.
Uzay Bulut, a Turkish political analyst and research fellow for the Philos Project, told Fox News Digital: “If Kobane falls in Turkey, Turkey will occupy it alongside jihadist organizations, as they do in other Syrian cities such as Idlib and Afrin. , these Turkish military attacks on the SDF will weaken the anti-ISIS campaign in the region.”
According to Bulut, “The Turkish regime should be fully aware that such an occupation only helps ISIS and al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups in the region.”
A Turkish official countered such an argument, telling Fox News Digital that “we are the only NATO ally that has boots on the ground and has fought DAESH. [Islamic State] chest-to-chest since the beginning.”
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Turkey’s foreign policy prestige has gained more money within the Biden administration since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Washington Institute’s Turkish research program, said “Turkey is helping Ukraine militarily” to Russia.
Turkey provided Ukraine with 50 mine-resistant vehicles. Erdogan’s government has also sold the Bayraktar TB2 drone to Ukraine. The unmanned aerial vehicle carries laser-guided bombs. The Turkish drone has been a powerful weapon in pounding Russian troops.
Even in light of Turkey’s improved international reputation, Cagaptay does not see the Biden administration leaving the Syrian Kurds on dry land. “Turkey’s importance to the US has increased, and that does not mean [the] The US has completely abandoned the YPG.”