Turkey Says It’s Advancing in Syria; Trump Says He’s an ‘Island of One’

Turkey Says It’s Advancing in Syria; Trump Says He’s an ‘Island of One’

October 13, 2019, 5:03 AM

Turkey’s official news agency says allied Syrian forces have captured the town of Suluk in the fifth day of the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria.

Anadolu news agency said Sunday the town’s center, located at a strategic crossroads about 10 km south of the border, was cleared of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

Turkey considers the group a threat for links to a decades-long Kurdish insurgency at home.

A Kurdish official on condition of anonymity said the clashes in Suluk were ongoing.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry tweeted 480 YPG fighters were “neutralized” since Wednesday. The number couldn’t be independently verified.

Several shells fired from Syria hit the Turkish border towns Akcakale and Suruc in Sanliurfa province. Anadolu news agency said one person was wounded Sunday in Suruc.

President Donald Trump speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Donald Trump speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Oct. 12, 2019.

Trump an ‘Island of One’

U.S. President Donald Trump has faced widespread bipartisan criticism that he has endangered stability in the Middle East and risked the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who helped the U.S. bring down the Islamic State group in Syria.

But on Saturday he remained steadfast and defended his decision, saying he is an “island of one” for removing U.S. forces from northeastern Syria.

Trump said the U.S. cannot fight “endless wars.”

“We have to bring our great heroes, our great soldiers, we have to bring them home. It’s time. It’s time,” Trump said in a lengthy and wide-ranging address to the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of social conservative activists.

He portrayed the Middle East as a hopeless cause, despite years of American military involvement and financial investment.

“It’s less safe now. It’s less secure, less stable and they fight,” he said. “That’s what they do. They fight.”

Trump announced that he had directed $50 million in emergency aid for Syria to support Christians and other religious minorities there.

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