Kurdish Militia Fights Back on Syrian Border

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey — Kurdish-led fighters in Syria attempted on Tuesday to retake the strategic border town of Ras al-Ain from Turkish-led forces, as Kurdish and Syrian government troops sought to repel a Turkish incursion in northern Syria.

The Kurdish counteroffensive came as Syrian government troops were deployed inside the northern city of Manbij, a Syrian state broadcaster said on Tuesday. The broadcast showed what it said were residents of Manbij celebrating the arrival of government troops.

Heavy fire from machine guns could be heard to the south and southwest of Ras al-Ain and from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, which is less than a mile from the fighting. Turkish artillery pounded an eastern suburb of the Syrian settlement midmorning, raising clouds of smoke above low farmhouses and pistachio groves.

Where Turkish forces have moved into Kurdish-held areas

Qamishli

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Turkey

Kobani

Towards

Iraq

Ras al Ain

Akcakale

M4

Tel Tamer

Tel Abyad

Suluk

Syrian Army forces

U.S. troops

deployed to a bridge.

M4

Manbij

M4

Ain Issa

Area of

detail

Syrian Army forces

KURDISH

Control

SYRIA

SYRIA

Government

Control

Raqqa

10 MILES

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Qamishli

Turkey

Kobani

Towards

Iraq

Ras al Ain

Akcakale

M4

Tel Abyad

Tel Tamer

Suluk

Syrian Army forces

M4

M4

U.S. troops

deployed to a bridge.

Manbij

Area of

detail

Ain Issa

Syrian Army forces

KURDISH

Control

SYRIA

SYRIA

Government

Control

Raqqa

10 MILES

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

Qamishli

Turkey

Kobani

Ras al Ain

Towards

Iraq

Tel Abyad

M4

M4

M4

Suluk

Tel Tamer

U.S.

troops

deployed to a bridge.

Syrian Army forces

Manbij

Ain Issa

Syrian Army forces

KURDISH

Control

Area of

detail

Raqqa

SYRIA

SYRIA

Government

Control

10 MILES

Sources: Times reporting; Control areas as of Oct. 14th via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | By Sarah Almukhtar, Allison McCann and Anjali Singhvi

As of Tuesday, fighting in Ras al-Ain and other areas in northern Syria has forced at least 160,000 people from their homes, according to United Nations estimates. The Kurdish authorities put the figure at 270,000.

The battle highlighted the fluctuating nature of the Turkish incursion, which began last Wednesday after President Trump ordered the evacuation of American troops from the Turkish-Syrian border, opening the door for Turkish troops and their Syrian Arab proxies to enter Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria.

4 Big Questions About Syria’s Future

The surprise American withdrawal from parts of northern Syria reshuffled old alliances and touched off a new stage of the eight-year war.

The White House decision drew global condemnation and left Kurdish fighters feeling betrayed, and the situation has quickly turned into a blood bath. Experts on the region warned that the withdrawal of American troops would embolden Russia, Iran and the Islamic State.

Abandoned by the Americans, and quickly losing land to the Turkish force, the Kurdish authorities sought protection from the Syrian government and its largest backer, Russia.

Since the Kurdish authorities asked the government of President Bashar al-Assad for assistance, thousands of Syrian Army troops have flooded into northern Syria for the first time since the government lost control of the region several years ago.

But Syrian government troops have stayed clear of the border region near Ras al-Ain, where Kurdish troops fight on alone. Instead, government forces have deployed to other strategic positions, such as the western cities of Manbij, to help alleviate pressure on Kurdish fighters on the front line.

The last-minute alliance comes at great cost to the Kurdish authorities, who are effectively giving up self-rule.

Syrian Kurdish militias established a system of self-rule in northern Syria in 2012, when the chaos of the Syrian civil war gave them the chance to create a sliver of autonomous territory free of central government influence.

The fighters greatly expanded their territory after they partnered with an international military coalition, led by the United States, to push the Islamic State from the area.

After the Kurdish-led fighters captured ISIS territory, they assumed responsibility for its governance, eventually controlling roughly a quarter of the Syrian landmass. They have also been guarding thousands of ISIS fighters and their families, hundreds of whom fled a detention camp in Ras al-Ain after Turkish-led forces bombed the surrounding area.

The Kurds’ control of the land in Syria enraged Turkey, since the militia is an offshoot of a guerrilla group that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. Turkey has long pressed the United States to abandon its alliance with Kurdish fighters so Turkish troops could enter Syria and force the Kurds from territory close to the border.

Washington rebuffed Turkey’s requests for several years, maintaining a de facto peacekeeping presence along the border near Ras al-Ain, the town at the center of the fighting on Friday. But that changed last week, when Mr. Trump made a sudden decision to withdraw troops — first from that particular area, and later from all of northern Syria.

Carlotta Gall reported from Ceylanpinar, and Patrick Kingsley from Istanbul.

Related news

'Call me Robin Hood': mystery patron pays debts of Istanbul's poorest.

Benefactor pays bills to ‘earn God’s blessing’ as suicides blamed on rising cost of livingPoor neighbourhoods of Istanbul have been visited by an anonymous benefactor paying off debts at grocery stores and leaving envelopes of cash on doorsteps, a...

Trudeau, King of Jordan to meet in Ottawa

The Prime Minister's Office says the two will discuss the partnership between Canada and Jordan and efforts to promote diversity and counter violent extremism.

2

Turkey’s Deportations Force Europe to Face Its ISIS Militants.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to send back foreign citizens who supported the Islamic State is handing Western Europe a problem it had hoped to avoid.

Turkish president Erdogan ‘did a great job,’ says country’s ambassador to Canada.

Ambassador Kerim Uras was asked to respond to calls that Recep Tayyip Erdogan should be charged with war crimes.

2 1

12 killed, several wounded by car bomb in northern Syria.

A car bomb exploded Saturday in a northern Syrian town controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters, killing at least 12 people and wounding several others, Syrian opposition activists and Turkey’s Defence Ministry said. Northern Syria ha...

1

Продовжуючи переглядати World News (UAZMI), ви підтверджуєте, що ознайомилися з Правилами користування сайтом, і погоджуєтеся на використання файлів cookie