Pentagon Urges Turkey to Halt Invasion Into Syria

US will impose sanctions on Turkey if it crosses its line

"He has also been extremely clear that if Turkey releases ISIS terrorists, there will be severe consequences".

It was the Pentagon's most explicit criticism of the Turkish operation, which began Wednesday as a campaign against a Syrian Kurd-led militia that has partnered with US forces over the past five years to fight the Islamic State.

Even some of Trump's staunchest Republican supporters have sharply criticized the decision, which some regard it as a betrayal of the US-armed Kurdish fighters who partnered with U.S. forces against the Islamic State, at great cost.

Manchin's statement comes as Turkish forces continue their assault on the Kurdish people; the operation possible after President Donald Trump pulled American troops from the region earlier this week.

How is the offensive affecting people?

Some 100,000 people have left their homes in north-eastern Syria with a growing number taking refuge in shelters and schools following this week's Turkish military incursion in the region, the United Nations said.

According to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, Erdogan's statement equals treating Syrian refugees as pawns to be manipulated for political purposes.

"This is what should frighten all of us the most", Ignatius said on MSNBC this week.

Meanwhile, Milutinovic says, humanitarian groups fear that the offensive could disrupt aid supply lines, which have been coming into Syria from Iraq.

Ms Buswell said IRC teams remained on the ground. The towns of Ras al-Ayn and Darbasiya have become largely deserted. There is no safe place for anybody.

One of the Kurds' last hopes is that the prospect of IS prisoners breaking out and regrouping with increasingly active sleeper cells will spur the world into action. Kurdish guards evacuated her to a clinic where she later died, according to Abdul-Qader al-Ofeidly, commander of the Kurdish police force known as Asayish, which guards the camps.

So far, European Union discussions of sanctions on Turkey have focused on Turkish oil and gas drilling off Cyprus and on the targeting of specific individuals and companies.

Several shells landed close to where many media organizations have set up, including the BBC on the outskirts of Akcakale.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey says the operation is necessary for border security against the YPG militia, which it designates a terrorist group because of ties to militants who have waged a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

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But in Turkey there is widespread support for the operation.

President Erdogan wants a buffer zone to which he can send back some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees his country hosts. Now that the offensive has started, Turkey is unlikely to back down.

It's an often confused picture, with differing versions.

Despite withering criticism, Mr Trump has framed it as fulfilling a campaign promise to extricate the United States from a Middle East quagmire it should never have been involved in to begin with.

European Council President Donald Tusk responded on Friday by chastising Erdogan for making the threat.

"Secretary Esper made it clear that the United States opposes Turkey's uncoordinated actions as they place at risk the progress made by the Defeat-ISIS Coalition", including the US -backed and mostly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces who have borne the brunt of the fighting against the Islamic State, the statement said.

Ras al-Ain, Tal Abyad and other border towns between them have been nearly emptied of their population in a huge wave of displacement.

The Kurdish Red Crescent said there had been 11 confirmed civilian deaths so far and 28 serious injuries, mostly in Ras al-Ain and another border town, Qamishli. Gunfire could also be heard inside the town, said a Reuters journalist in Ceylanpinar, on the Turkish side of the border.

He said that the so-called "safe zone" in northeastern Syria as envisaged by Turkey is unlikely would satisfy global criteria for refugee return as laid down by UNHCR.

What has the reaction been?

Cavusoglu said Ankara expected "strong solidarity" from the alliance.

"We have one of three choices: Send in thousands of troops and win Militarily, hit Turkey very hard Financially and with Sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds!" I am watching closely.

Less than an hour after Trump made his Thursday claim that there are "no soldiers in Syria", a senior State Department official told reporters that the U.S. military mission in Syria is ongoing.

Kurdish forces have, until many took off for the front lines against Turkey, provided protection for USA installations.

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