Turkish troops prepare for the offensive in northern Syria

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Reuters

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Turkish troops prepare for the offensive in northern Syria

Turkish troops have begun an offensive in northern Syria, which could bring them into direct conflict with Kurdish-led forces allied to the United States.

The move was announced by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey desires to develop a “secure zone” cleared of Kurdish militias which will also residence some of Turkey’s three.six million Syrian refugees.

Donald Trump controversially withdrew US troops ahead of the action but says Turkey may well face financial consequences.

The Kurds had been essential US allies in defeating the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Mr Trump’s withdrawal of the handful of dozen US troops in the border region was noticed as a “stab in the back” by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and drew condemnation even from the president’s Republican allies.

He responded to the criticism by threatening to “obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it went “off limits” in the incursion, saying Turkey should really “not do something outdoors of what we would feel is humane”.

The Kurds guard thousands of IS fighters and their relatives in prisons and camps in locations beneath their manage and it is unclear regardless of whether they will continue to be safely detained.

Announcing the offensive, Mr Erdogan mentioned on Twitter: “The Turkish Armed Forces, with each other with the Syrian National Army [rebel groups backed by Turkey], just launched #OperationPeaceSpring” against Kurdish militias and the Islamic State group in northern Syria.

“Our mission is to avert the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the region.

“We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate neighborhood communities from terrorists.”