SDF leadership says it will defend land 'at all cost' following White House statement
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday stated they would defend their land “at all costs” following a White House statement noting US forces would withdraw from northern Syria, where Turkey is moving ahead with its long forewarned operation.
“Despite all the efforts we put forward to avoid conflict – our commitment to the security mechanism agreement and taking necessary steps on our end – the US forces did not carry out their responsibilities and have withdrawn from border areas with Turkey,” the General Command of the SDF said in a statement.
“Turkey’s unprovoked attack on our areas will have a negative impact on our fight against ISIS and the stability and peace we have created in the region in recent years,” the leadership argued.
The SDF affirmed they are “determined to defend our land at all costs. ”
“We call on our Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, and Syriac people to strengthen their unity and stand by the SDF in defense of their land.”
Late on Sunday, the White House issued a summary of a telephone call that US President Donald Trump held with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier that day.
The White House statement explained that Turkey was about to attack northern Syria and US forces will withdraw from the immediate area where the Turkish military operation is to take place.
In a social media statement, Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF media center, said that, despite the security mechanism deal and the SDF’s destruction of border fortifications, the “US forces did not fulfill their responsibilities and began withdrawing from the border, leaving the area to turn into a war zone.”
However, he also reiterated that the SDF is determined to defend northeastern Syria at “all costs.”
On Aug. 7, 2019, Turkey and the US agreed on a new security mechanism designed to address the former’s concerns regarding northeastern Syria.
According to the US-led coalition, the SDF supported this deal by “removing fortifications and retrograding negotiated forces and heavy weapons away from the Turkey-Syria border.”
These fortifications had been placed by the SDF to protect its border against a possible Turkish attack.
The SDF’s Coordination and Military Operations Centre said that the Syrian government forces backed by Russia are already preparing to move toward the SDF-held city of Manbij.
The SDF has earlier voiced its concern that a withdrawal decision could put millions of civilians in harm's way.
The SDF also hold thousands of foreign jihadis, who may take advantage of a possible Turkish incursion to launch Islamic State attacks and regroup, senior SDF officials warned as well.
Editing by Nadia Riva