Backed Forces Halt all Counter-ISIS Operations in Syria

US President Donald Trump speaks about Turkey and Syria at the White House in Washington

US President Donald Trump speaks about Turkey and Syria at the White House in Washington

The U.S. military established a combined joint operations center in Ankara several weeks ago to coordinate with Turkish forces on patrols in a "security mechanism" buffer zone in Syria along the border with Turkey.

On Tuesday, Turkish officials told Reuters that the military had struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce the region, though details of the strikes were hazy.

Turkey considers the Kurdish militias to be terrorist organizations, and has launched "Operation Peace Spring" to establish a "safe zone" along its entire border with Syria.

These people are members of an ethnic minority known as the Kurdish people.

Turkey regards the Kurdish militias, which dominate the US -allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as "terrorists".

Trump has come under withering criticism in Washington, including from senior members of his own Republican Party, over what they see as a betrayal of the Kurdish militias that fought alongside United States forces to defeat the ISIS movement in Syria.

In signaling the intent to invade, Erdogan appeared to buck threats of "economic obliteration" made by President Donald Trump on Monday, including possible sanctions.

Wednesday, Turkey launched an operation in northern Syria as part of a planned military offensive to move US-backed Kurdish forces away from its border.

It halted operations against Islamic State because of the Turkish offensive, two USA officials and a Kurdish source said.

"The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea", Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

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"We call on all our institutions, and our people in all their components, to head towards the border region with Turkey to fulfil their moral duty and show resistance in these sensitive, historic moments", it said in a statement.

The SDF, which holds thousands of IS fighters in detention facilities in northeastern Syria, has warned that a Turkish incursion might lead to the resurgence of the extremists.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Turkey to show restraint and avoid military action in the region, adding that US forces should leave the region. It's been a force in the battle against Islamic State but not directly against the Assad regime, which has supported the related PKK.

Kurdish-led forces have denounced the United States policy shift as a "stab in the back".

The Pentagon would not confirm to Military.com reports that the Syrian Democratic Forces, which drove the Islamic State from its last strongholds in Syria, is now turning to face the more imminent threat from Turkey. The Turks were not entering Syria to fight the Islamic State, Graham said on Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Washington of playing "very unsafe games" with the Syrian Kurds saying that the US first propped up the Syrian Kurdish "quasi state" in northeastern Syria and is now withdrawing its support. Russian news agencies carried Lavrov's comments and reported that Moscow has communicated that position Washington.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., a close ally of Trump, blasted the Turkish operation but stopped short of criticizing the US president.

Turkey's campaign - in which a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member is raining down bombs on an area where hundreds of US troops are stationed - drew immediate criticism and calls for restraint from Europe.

The Observatory said the attack involved two IS fighters who engaged in a shootout before blowing themselves up. "They also fired with mortars and tanks on the city, striking a school", claimed Azad Evdike, a 42-year-old based in Serekaniye.

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