SDF announce halting operations against ISIS after Turkish attacks
Abdi says Ankara is now ready to launch a ground offensive, after about a week of Turkish airstrikes on northern Syria.
Mazloum Abdi, commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, confirmed on Saturday the cessation of operations against ISIS following the Turkish attacks on northern Syria last week.
On Sunday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced that Turkey has launched the "Operation Claw-Sword" offensive with airstrikes targeting Kurdish militants in both Iraq and Syria.
Abdi said Ankara is now ready to launch a ground offensive, after about a week of Turkish airstrikes on northern Syria, and Turkish-backed opposition militants in Syria are preparing to participate in the offensives, noting that the Turkish strikes last week inflicted severe damage to the infrastructure of the area.
The SDF commander considered that Turkey is using the November 13 deadly bombing in Istanbul, which Ankara blames on Kurdish groups, as a pretext for launching its attacks, despite Kurdish denial of any involvement.
He said the SDF which is working with the "International Coalition" to fight ISIS has now become a target of the Turkish state, and therefore military operations against ISIS have stopped.
Abdi's statement came hours after the US military announced a missile attack on the US-led coalition forces bases in Al-Shaddadi, northeastern Syria, without causing casualties or damage to the base or coalition property.
A few days ago, Abdi announced halting military operations against ISIS in protest of the US stance on the Turkish attacks in northern Syria, pointing out that the operation against ISIS with the Americans stopped due to preoccupation with Turkish attacks.
The Kurdish leader also said that coordination with the Russian forces was affected as well, calling on Moscow and Washington to intervene and stop Ankara's attacks.
It is noteworthy that the US Department of Defense had expressed concern over the recent uptick in military activity in northern Syria, Iraq, and Turkey, citing the danger they pose to efforts to defeat ISIS.
In the same context, Russia has asked Turkey to refrain from a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, senior Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentyev said on Wednesday, because such actions could trigger an escalation of violence.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on Friday to create a "security zone" in Syria to ward off Kurdish militants from carrying out attacks on Turkish civilians residing near the Syrian border.
Erdogan indicated that the "safe zone" will include the Syrian border city of Ayn Al-Arab.
On Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Turkey is planning to continue its offensive aimed at "eliminating terrorist bases" in northern Iraq and Syria.