Syrian Kurds mobilise civilian defence as Turkish incursion begins
The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria on Wednesday issued a "general mobilisation," calling for civilians in the area to defend against a Turkish military incursion that began late Wednesday.
The Kurdish militia-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has declared a three-day state alert, urging people to “go to the border region adjacent to Turkey to carry out their moral duty and show resistance,” in preparation for the impending Turkish operation, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
"As threats and mobilisation of the Turkish Army and its mercenaries escalate ... we call on our people ... to go to the area bordering Turkey to carry out their moral duty and show resistance at these sensitive historical moments," it quoted the SDF as saying.
Turkey on Wednesday begun an offensive into northern Syria targeting the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which forms the bulk of the SDF.
The move follows decision by the United States to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. The YPG has played a key role in the U.S.-led war on the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region.
The government of Erdoğan plans to establish a "safe zone" in northeastern Syria, in an area controlled by the YPG.
Ankara sees the YPG as a security threat due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for more than three decades.
The SDF on Monday said it was prepared for an “all-out war'' should Turkey attack.