Turkish troops have crossed into Syria, a published report said Wednesday, citing information from a Turkish military official.
The official gave no further details, the Bloomberg report said.
In a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday, Turkish communications director Fahrettin Altun called on the international community to “rally” behind Ankara, calling the Kurds “armed thugs” from which the local population needed to be liberated.
Meanwhile, Iran has launched a surprise military drill near the country’s border with Turkey, the Islamic nation’s state media announced Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
In this image provided by Hawar News Agency, ANHA, U.S. military vehicles travel down a main road in northeast Syria, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (ANHA via AP)
The reported military move by Turkey follows President Trump’s recent decision to have U.S. troops withdraw from Syria – a shift that Trump’s critics have characterized as an abandonment of Syrian Kurdish fighters who have been aligned with U.S. forces in the country.
On Monday, Trump defended the decision, Haaretz reported, saying that U.S. support for Syrian Kurds was too costly. But the move received bipartisan criticism.
Republican critics included Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, who said she hopes the president’s plan is “reconsidered.”
“I agree with President Trump’s objective to not be bogged down in the Middle East, to bring our men and women home, and we really need to be looking at the rising threat of China,” McSally said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Tuesday.
“However, we have a generational struggle and fight against Islamic terrorism.”
Iran, along with Russia, are both key allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and both have troops stationed in Syria.
Earlier Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the United States of playing “very dangerous games” with the Syrian Kurds, saying the U.S. propped up the Kurds as a “quasi state” within Syria but was now ending its support.
“Such reckless attitude to this highly sensitive subject can set fire to the entire region, and we have to avoid it at any cost.”
Lavrov said Moscow is eager to help Assad’s government in Damascus and the Syrian Kurds negotiate a settlement to their differences.
Fox News’ Victor Garcia and The Associated Press contributed to this story.