Turkey cannot rely on the undisciplined Syrian proxies that it has used so far, meaning large numbers of regular Turkish army troops will be engaged against a skilled and determined adversary. Costly battles with a conscript army are rarely popular at home.
Peter W. Galbraith, former US Ambassador to Croatia and Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations in Afghanistan “working with a Norwegian oil company, helped establish the Kurdistan oil industry”
[November 7 2019]
A senior U.S. State Department official said late on November 6 2019 there has been fighting in the area southeast of Syria’s border town of Ras al-Ain. It “is somewhat in dispute” whether the area is covered by the U.S. or Russian deals.
[October 18 2019]
SDF commander Mazloum Kobani told Kurdish broadcaster Ronahi TV late on October 17 2019 the group would accept the ceasefire but it was limited to a strip between Ras al Ain and the town of Tal Abyad, directly on the border and about 120 km (80 miles) apart.
[October 16 2019]
Even token numbers of Syrian troops in cities like Manbij and Kobani close to the Euphrates, and Qamishli and Hasakah close to the Iraqi border, will leave Turkish soldiers and allied Arab militiamen confined to a rectangle of territory between the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal-Abyad, possibly extending 20 miles south to the M4 highway – which is the strategic spine of Rojava. Patrick Cockburn specialises in analysis of Iraq, Syria and wars in the Middle East.
[October 14 2019 SDF in “tactical retreat” ]
[October 12 2019]
Marvan Qamishlo, an SDF military media official, said Turkish-backed forces had entered the town’s industrial district following hours of heavy Turkish shelling that had forced the SDF into a “tactical retreat” from that area.
“Now the SDF’s attack has started and there are very fierce clashes now,” he told Reuters. “The clashes are continuing in the industrial district,” he said, saying this was the part of Ras al Ain closest to the Turkish border.
In response, the senior Turkish official said fighting was going on in “two small areas” of Ras al Ain but added that “nearly all” YPG forces had fled to the south. Turkish artillery continued to bombard parts of the town.
[October 9 2019 SDF withdraws from Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain ]
[September 8 2019 U.S. withdraws from Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain ]
3:29 pm The president when he learned about the potential Turkish invasion, knowing that we have 50 special operations troops in the region, made the decision to protect those troops” by pulling them back, the official said
A senior administration official told reporters Monday that Sunday’s announcement did not constitute a full U.S. withdrawal from Syria and that only 50 to 100 U.S. special operations forces were moving to other locations in Syria.
The official explained that Trump’s decision to move the special operators out of the zone of a potential Turkish operation was done to protect troops and keep them out of the crossfire.
Those troops are moving to more secure areas over the next several days, the official said.
A U.S. official said American troops had withdrawn from two observation posts on the border, at Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain, and had told the commander of the SDF that the United States would not defend the SDF from an imminent Turkish offensive.