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Assad Forces Surge Forward in Syria as U.S. Pulls Back

On Monday, without a fight, government forces seized a number of towns that had recently been held by the United States’ allies, including Tel Tamer, home to an Assyrian Christian community; Tabqa, which has a large hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates River; and Ein Issa, where the United States kept a contingent of forces, until recently.

Fighting continued in towns near the Turkish border to the north, pitting a number of forces against each other and terrifying civilians.

Kurdish militiamen battled Turkish troops around Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad, Syrian border towns the Turks claim to have taken. And both Turkey and the Syrian government were sending troops toward Manbij, raising the specter of new fighting there.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has said the incursion is necessary for his country’s security and that Turkey seeks to establish a 20-mile-deep “safe zone” for hundreds of miles inside Syria’s border.

The invasion has provoked widespread international condemnation and on Monday, the foreign ministers of all 28 European Union member states agreed to stop selling arms to Turkey, an unprecedented step toward a fellow NATO member.

But Mr. Erdogan appeared unfazed, vowing that Turkey would press on in a speech in Azerbaijan.

“We are determined to take our operation to the end,” he said. “We will finish what we started. A hoisted flag does not come down.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/14/world/europe/syria-us-assad-kurds-turkey.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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