ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday named U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as the leaders whom he most admires.
In a Q&A with university students, Erdogan said he struggles to name a current inspirational leader from Europe.
A contingent of U.S. Special Forces was caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria, days after President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart he would withdraw U.S. troops from certain positions in the area. A senior Pentagon official said shelling by the Turkish forces was so heavy that the U.S. personnel considered firing back in self-defense.
Newsweek has learned through both an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and the senior Pentagon official that Special Forces operating on Mashtenour hill in the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani fell under artillery fire from Turkish forces conducting their so-called “Operation Peace Spring” against Kurdish fighters backed by the U.S. but considered terrorist organizations by Turkey. No injuries have been reported.Instead of returning fire, the Special Forces withdrew once the shelling had ceased. Newsweek previously reported Wednesday that the current rules of engagement for U.S. forces continue to be centered around self-defense and that no order has been issued by the Pentagon for a complete withdrawal from Syria.
Barış Pınarı Harekâtı’nın planlama ve icrasında sadece PKK/PYD-YPG ve DEAŞ’lı teröristler ile bunlara ait barınak, sığınak, mevzii, silah, araç ve gereçler hedef alınıyor. https://t.co/sw9y8Lf4Ck#MSB #TSK #BarışPınarıHarekatı🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/zCdo7hPdWU— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) October 10, 2019
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened Europe he will send 3.6 million refugees to the continent if the invasion of Syria is defined as an occupation.
‘Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you,’ Erdogan said in a speech to parliament.
He bragged that 109 ‘terrorists’ had been killed, as the defence ministry announced two border villages had been ‘cleared of terror,’ referring to Kurdish fighters.
The invasion has been widely condemned around the world, with European leaders and President Donald Trump warning Erdogan he risked exacerbating suffering in the war-ravaged region and allowing for IS to flourish after the US-backed Kurds ousted the jihadists earlier this year.
Turkey has launched an offensive into north-eastern Syria, unleashing air strikes and artillery barrages aimed at US-backed Kurdish forces who control the region.
Video footage showed civilians fleeing towns with columns of smoke rising in the background and jet trails visible in the sky. Activists and observers say at least seven civilians have been killed so far.