Turkey Strikes Kurdish Targets in Northeastern Syria, Report Says

Alleged attack comes after Trump decides to withdraw troops from northern Syria ■ Iran's Zarif calls against military action in phone call with Turkish counterpart

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U.S. forces in northeastern Syria, October 7, 2019.
U.S. forces in northeastern Syria, October 7, 2019. Credit: AP

Turkey struck targets belonging to Kurdish-led opposition groups in northeastern Syria, Syrian media outlets reported on Monday night. 

Syrian news agency Sana reported that Turkey struck targets belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

Earlier Monday, the White House surprisingly announced a decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, adding that Turkey is papering to carry out a military operation in the area.

Northern Syria is currently controlled by the Kurdish-led SDF, allies of the United States who have been cooperating with it in its fight against the Islamic State, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization.

>> Read more: Israel caught by complete surprise at Trump's Syria withdrawal decision ■ As far as Trump is concerned, the Kurds have done their job and now can go to hell |  Analysis

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull our American troops from Syria sparked criticism, including from Republican senior officials. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned of a broad confrontation between Turkey and the Kurds, while Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a leading voice within his party on foreign policy and usually a very strong supporter of Trump, tweeted that "This decision to abandon our Kurdish allies and turn Syria over to Russia, Iran, & Turkey will put every radical Islamist on steroids. Shot in the arm to the bad guys. Devastating for the good guys."

Following the outcry, Trump tweeted that "if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!""

Meanwhile, in a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed Syrian sovereignty, while opposing military action.

Slamming Trump's decision, a spokesperson for the SDF said that the U.S. had promised it would not allow any Turkish action in the area, adding the forces were completely committed to the deal the U.S. promised involving the security apparatus on the [Syria-Turkey] border.