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Trump's shock Syria retreat reverberates as Turkish troops mass

2019-10-08 09:22:58       source:The Guardian

October 8, 2019

Kurdish forces in Syria have said the fate of tens of thousands of suspected Islamic State fighters and their families is uncertain, after US forces began a sudden withdrawal from the Turkish-Syrian border, leaving their Kurdish allies to face the prospect of a Turkish invasion alone.

The effects of the shock retreat continued to reverberate through the region on Monday as Turkish forces massed near the border with the Kurdish stronghold of north-eastern Syria.

The threat of a Turkish offensive marks the end of a US-Turkish arrangement established in August that saw troops from both countries carrying out joint patrols in a ‘safe zone’ along the border keeping Turkish and Kurdish forces apart. That scheme was under strain however, as Turkey wanted to establish military outposts deeper inside Syria and resettle non-Kurdish Syrian refugees in the designated safe zone. Those demands were opposed by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

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