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Erdogan Tweets Operation 'Peace Spring' Has Started

As WaPo looks at the prisons holding ISIS militants in the region
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2019 8:40 AM CDT
Updated Oct 9, 2019 2:41 PM CDT
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In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, barbed wire and fences form the border, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(Newser) – And so it begins. The AP reports Turkey's President Erdogan announced in a tweet that the incursion into northern Syria has begun. He said the operation, dubbed "Peace Spring," intends to eliminate "the threat of terror" against his country. The AP reports Turkey has launched airstrikes and used artillery on the area, but "it was difficult to know what was hit in the first hours of the operation." Turkey's communications director said in a Washington Post opinion piece published Tuesday night that the world needed to get on board with the invasion. Fahrettin Altun opened his piece by claiming President Trump "agreed to transfer the leadership of the counter-Islamic State campaign to Turkey"—a campaign the Guardian notes the US has waged alongside Kurdish forces since 2014—when he spoke with President Erdogan on Sunday.

On the ISIS front, the Washington Post separately takes a look at the more than 20 prisons and camps that hold some 11,000 ISIS militants and their families in Syria and are overseen by Syrian Kurdish forces. Those guards are still in place, but Kurdish officials said they are ready to move if need be—introducing the possibility of a mass escape. And the US military wouldn't do anything to intervene, per unnamed US military officials. They said there isn't enough US manpower in the area to guard the prisons, nor is any mandate in place for them to do so. The Post reports the administration's line has been that the fighters will be Turkey's responsibility should they invade. It notes that some higher-profile ISIS fighters are being kept in Iraq. (Read more Turkey stories.)

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