Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Syrian army moves to confront Turkish forces as US withdraws

Despite widespread criticism from its Nato allies in Europe and the US, Turkey has pressed on with its offensive into northern Syria.

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters in Tal Abyad, Syria (AP/Cavit Ozgul)
Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters in Tal Abyad, Syria (AP/Cavit Ozgul)

By Associated Press Reporter

Syria’s army has deployed near the Turkish border hours after Syrian Kurdish forces previously allied with the US said they had reached a deal with Damascus to help them fend off Turkey’s invasion.

The announcement of a deal between Syria’s Kurds and its government is a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all US troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos.

The shift sets up a potential clash between Turkey and Syria and raises the spectre of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic State group as the US relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.

On Monday morning, Syria’s state news agency said that the army had moved into the town of Tal Tamr, which is about 12 miles from the Turkish border.

bpanews_d0743d07-3ccf-465b-a60c-284758f11a27_embedded246736594
Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters advance (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Sana said government forces would “confront the Turkish aggression” without giving further details. Photos posted by Sana showed several vehicles and a small number of troops.

Tal Tamr is a predominantly Assyrian Christian town that was once held by Islamic State before it was retaken by Kurdish-led forces.

Many Syrian Christians, who make up about 10% of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million, left for Europe over the past 20 years, with the flight gathering speed since the country’s conflict began in March 2011.

Sana did not say from which area the Syrian army had moved into the town.

Despite widespread criticism from its Nato allies in Europe and the US, Turkey has pressed on with its offensive into northern Syria.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph