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Turkey to invade northern Syria, says White House

American troops will not be involved in the operation, a spokeswoman said.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Presidential Press Pool/AP)
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Presidential Press Pool/AP)

By Zeke Miller, Associated Press

Turkey will soon invade northern Syria while the United States will remove all of its forces from the area, the White House said.

The move casts uncertainty on the fate of the Kurdish fighters allied with the US in a campaign against Islamic State.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said US troops “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area”.

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Turkish and American armoured vehicles patrol as they conduct joint ground patrols in the so-called ‘safe zone’ on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey (AP)

Turkey will take custody of foreign fighters captured in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group who have been held by the Kurdish forces, she added.

Kurdish forces bore the brunt of the ground campaign against Islamic State militants but are considered terrorists by the Turkish government.

In December, US president Trump announced he was withdrawing American troops from Syria but was met with widespread condemnation for abandoning Kurdish allies to the Turkish assault.

The announcement prompted the resignation in protest of then-Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, and a coordinated campaign by then-national security adviser John Bolton to try to protect the Kurds.

PA

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