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THOUSANDS of people headed to the northern Syrian border today to form a mass human shield ahead of an anticipated Turkish invasion of the largely Kurdish region hours after it was abandoned by US forces.
Kurds warned of an act of betrayal after US President Donald Trump announced that he was pulling forces out of northern Syria following a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a press statement on Sunday the White House said that it would “no longer be in the immediate area” and would not take part in any operations to defend Kurdish forces.
Mr Trump insisted that the US would not continue to hold captured Isis fighters that are being held in camps “in what could be for many years and great cost for the taxpayer.”
He said that Turkey would now be responsible for those captured “in the wake of the defeat of the territorial caliphate by the United States.”
The US does not run the camps in northern Syria, however, as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces is responsible for them, including 70,000 in the al-Hol camp on the Iraqi border.
Sources inside Syria told the Morning Star that the US withdrawal was “more cynical than many realise.” They explained the US had demanded the people’s protection units (YPG) dismantle defensive positions close to Syria’s border with Turkey prior to “abandoning Kurds” to Ankara’s imminent invasion.
Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) warned that Mr Erdogan was “trying to establish a Salafi-jihadist belt … which will aggravate regional instability.”
The party’s executive said that handing over responsibility for jihadist prisoners represents a “grave threat” for Turkey and would affect the country’s political stability and social fabric.
“This step will also create the possibilities for Isis to reorganise, wake its sleeper cells and drag the region back into deep darkness as it was in 2014,” a statement warned.
The HDP said the military intervention was a violation of international law and aimed to consolidate Mr Erdogan’s rule in Turkey.
“Such a military intervention means more repression in Turkish society, an increased financial burden, poverty, a deepening crisis, widespread lawlessness and a lack of democracy.”
Thousands of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians and Turkmens formed a human shield along the Syrian border stretching from Qamishli to Tell Abyad. The action was supported by political parties and NGOs under the banner “No to Turkey’s occupation of north and east Syria.”
Abdulxaliq Abdullah, a Syrian tribal spokesman from Til Hemis, said: “Turkey has a dark history. They help terror pass to our lands and left Syria in ruins. Turkey does not let the people live by their will and imposes their will on people. We will stand against this.”
Kurdish forces appealed to the international community, including the UN, to take urgent action to halt a Turkish invasion.
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