The United Nations Security Council is set to meet Thursday to discuss the military operation in northeastern Syria that Turkey says is a “measured and responsible” anti-terror operation, while the mainly Kurdish fighters in the region appeal for help to “save our people from genocide,” Voice of America reported
Turkey launched its long-planned operation Wednesday aimed at taking out the Kurdish forces it sees as terrorists but which most of the West views as key partners in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants. The Turkish military operation began days after a surprise and widely criticized White House announcement that US forces would withdraw from the region.
Turkish forces began with airstrikes and later sent in ground troops. Its defense ministry said in a statement Thursday that the operation continues successfully, without giving details.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday that 109 “terrorists” were killed, referring to the Syrian Kurdish fighters.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it “confronted an incursion attempt” by Turkish forces in Tal Halaf, and also a cell of the ISIL fighters in an area south of Ras al-Ain.
Ahead of the UN Security Council meeting, Reuters quoted a letter sent to the council by Turkey’s UN ambassador, Feridun Sinirlioğlu, saying the operation “will only target terrorists and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons vehicles and equipment.”
The Turkish Defense Ministry said the offensive is being undertaken in line with Security Council resolutions and international law provisions allowing Turkey the “right of self defense.”
An SDF tweet Thursday thanked a number of governments for “acting with honor” toward the people of northeastern Syria, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Britain, France and Germany.
The United States was not included.