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TURKISH troops pushed further into Syria today as the army reported its first two military casualties from the invasion.
Scores of Syrian Kurdish civilians have already been killed and crowds have fled their homes ahead of the Turkish army’s advance, piling belongings into cars, pick-up trucks and tuk-tuks. The UN refugee agency said tens of thousands of people were fleeing and that half a million were at risk. Mortar fire in response from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces killed at least six civilians on the Turkish side of the border, including children. Turkey claims to have killed 342 Kurdish fighters, a number that has not been verified.
The Communist Party of Turkey savaged Ankara’s “unacceptable” invasion and said the claim that Turkey was trying to return displaced Syrian refugees to their homes was a “grand hypocrisy.”
However, it also took aim at the Kurdish forces that had fought alongside the United States until its withdrawal, saying: “It is clear that the peace and freedom rhetoric by those who rely on imperialist forces, who see the solution in concepts such as autonomous government, locality, regionalism, which are nothing but the product of imperialist strategies to divide the people, are futile.”
Instead it argued: “The demands of the working people of Syria who have resisted the imperialist intervention for the last eight years is clear: independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
International uproar over the invasion continued, though no country took any action against Turkey.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he worried the Turkish military lacked the resources to prevent the escape of detained members of the Isis terror group held in camps guarded by Kurdish fighters.
The terrorists “could just run away,” he lamented. Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg also said the attack might “jeopardise” the defeat of Isis in Syria, though he otherwise indicated sympathy for Turkey’s attack — only to earn a rebuke from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said: “It is not enough to say you understand, we want to see solidarity in a clear way.”
European Council president Donald Tusk bristled at a Turkish threat to open its border and allow refugees incarcerated there as part of the notorious and unlawful EU-Turkey deal of 2016 to enter the EU.
The threat was “totally out of place,” he said, adding that “the EU will never accept that refugees are weaponised and used to blackmail us.”
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