Trump says despite pullout plan United States has not 'abandoned the Kurds'

A US soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al Hashisha along the border with Turkish troops on September 8

A US soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al Hashisha along the border with Turkish troops on September 8

Rouhani's comments came amid reports from Iranian state television of a surprise military drill with army special operations forces near the country's border with Turkey.

Trump's warning on Turkey's economy on Monday appeared aimed at placating critics who accused him of abandoning the Syrian Kurds by pulling out USA forces. The area is about 620 kilometers, or 385 miles, northwest of Tehran.

Iran, along with Russian Federation, are both key allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and both have troops stationed in Syria.

Istanbul sent more armoured vehicles to the border with Syria, a correspondent for the AFP news agency said, with a large convoy of dozens of vehicles seen in the Turkish town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province. While they may publicly oppose a Turkish incursion into Syria, they probably don't mind an operation that diminishes the Kurdish forces. A Syrian war monitoring group, the United Kingdom -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported Wednesday that people were fleeing the border town of Tal Abyad, which Turkey is expected to attack first. "As a result, we have moved USA forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety", a spokesperson for the Pentagon said Tuesday afternoon.

Now Turkey is saying its invasion of other Kurdish areas will help Syrian Arab refugees return to places that have been taken over by Kurds.

The Kurdish groups in northern Syria took advantage of the Syrian civil war and their victories against Islamic State to create a self-governing region - which they call Rojava - that spans the border region with Turkey.

A Trump administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, said the USA troops would be redeployed elsewhere in Syria "where they aren't in the crossfire".

In its call for mobilization, the local Kurdish authority known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria also urged the global community to live up to its responsibilities as "a humanitarian catastrophe might befall our people" in the region.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S.is pulling its troops from northern Syria, which raised concerns that the area will be at risk of an attack from Turkey.

The reported military move by Turkey follows President Trump's recent decision to have US troops withdraw from Syria - a shift that Trump's critics have characterized as an abandonment of Syrian Kurdish fighters who have been aligned with USA forces in the country.

Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidency's communications director, called on the global community in a Washington Post op-ed on Wednesday "to rally" behind Ankara.

Mustafa Bali of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the Turkish military buildup on the border, together with information about further mobilization of Turkey-backed Syrian rebels, indicated that "an attack is imminent".

"The Turkish military is shelling one of our points on #SereKaniye Border with Turkey", the SDF said in a tweet late Tuesday, referencing Ras al-Ain.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters, allied with American forces in the fight against IS, as terrorists linked to outlawed Kurdish rebels within Turkey.

Trump's decision effectively provides Turkish troops with a green light to attack US-backed Kurdish forces, though Trump threatened to punish Turkey economically if it does "anything outside of what we think is humane".

"Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a long-standing threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs", he said.

Last year Turkey launched an attack on the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 people. There was no word on casualties.

Raqqa is being Silently Slaughtered, an activist collective, reported an exchange of fire and a blast.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Raqqa attack involved two ISIS fighters who engaged in a shootout before blowing themselves up.

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