US Officials Rush to Stop Turkish Invasion of Northeast Syria After Christians Plea for Help by Emily Jones for Christian Broadcast News Network (CBN News)
US officials from the Department of Defense are going to Ankara, Turkey on Monday to dissuade President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from invading Northeast Syria where many ethnic minorities live, including thousands of Christians.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Turkey has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the Syrian border and Erdogan is planning on launching a full-scale military operation against US-backed Kurdish fighters East of the Euphrates.
“We entered Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab [in northern Syria], and now we’re going to enter east of the Euphrates,” Erdogan told an inauguration ceremony in Bursa.
“We shared this [information] with the U.S. and Russia,” he added.
Last month, Turkey threatened to take military action against US-backed forces if it did not reach a deal with the US over a 20-mile security zone inside Syria’s northeastern border with Turkey. Erdogan wants to clear the zone of the US-backed Kurdish YPG militia. The Kurdish militia was the United States’ main ally in the fight against ISIS, but Erdogan views the group as a terror organization.
“If the safe zone is not created, the threat emanating from this area continues and terrorists are not cleared, then we would start the operation,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with Turkey’s TGRT television last month.
A US official told Reuters that “bilateral discussions” with Turkey are underway “on the possibility of a safe zone with US and Turkish forces that addresses Turkey’s legitimate security concerns in northern Syria.”
However, Erdogan does not want the proposed security zone to be patrolled by both US and Turkish forces. He insists Turkey have full control of the zone.