US troops start pullout from along Turkey’s border in Syria

US forces during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of Al-Hashisha in this September 08, 2019 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2019

US troops start pullout from along Turkey’s border in Syria

  • US troops will not support Turkey’s ‘long-planned operation’ into Syria
  • ‘United States forces ... will no longer be in the immediate area’

BEIRUT: US-backed Kurdish-led forces in Syria said American troops began withdrawing Monday from their positions along Turkey’s border in northeastern Syria, ahead of an anticipated Turkish invasion that the Kurds say will overturn five years of achievements in the battle against the Daesh group.

The Syrian Kurdish fighters also accused Washington of failing to abide by its commitments to its key allies in the fight against Daesh. It’s a major shift in US policy.

The American withdrawal came just hours after the White House said US forces in northeastern Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault — essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the years long battle to defeat the Daesh group.

There was no immediate comment from the US on the pullout.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Syria Kurdish forces as a threat to his country as Ankara has struggled with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey.

In the US, Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, as the Kurdish-led force is known, said the American pullout began first from areas along the Syria-Turkey border.

“The American forces did not abide by their commitments and withdrew their forces along the border with Turkey,” the SDF said in its statement. “Turkey now is preparing to invade northern and eastern parts of Syria.”

“The Turkish military operation in northern and eastern Syria will have a huge negative effect on our war against” Daesh, it added.

The Kurdish-led fighters have been the main US-backed force in Syria in the fight against Daesh and in March, the group captured the last sliver of land held by the extremists, marking the end of the so-called caliphate that was declared by Daesh’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in 2014.

“We will not hesitate for a moment in defending our people” against Turkish troops, the Syrian Kurdish force said, adding that it has lost 11,000 fighters in the war against Daesh in Syria.

A Turkish attack would lead to a resurgence of Daesh, it said. Daesh sleeper cells are already plotting to break free some 12,000 militants detained by Syrian Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria in a “threat to local & international security.”

The Kurdish fighters also control the Al-Hol camp, home to more than 70,000 mostly wives and children of Daesh fighters.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted that since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, “we have supported the territorial integrity of this country, and we will continue to support it.”

He added that Ankara is determined to ensure the survival and security of Turkey “by clearing the region from terrorists. We will contribute to peace, peace and stability in Syria.”

The Kurdish Hawar news agency and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also say American troops were evacuating positions near the towns of Ras Al-Ayn and Tal Abyad on Monday.


Friendly guide to get ready for fun, fitness with Saudi Arabia's Color Run

Updated 14 min 37 sec ago

Friendly guide to get ready for fun, fitness with Saudi Arabia's Color Run

JEDDAH: The countdown to the Color Run has begun and the most colorful race on the planet returning to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 26, as part of the General Entertainment Authority’s efforts to attract top entertainment to the Kingdom. There will be a 5-kilometer run in Riyadh this Saturday and one in Jeddah on Nov. 2, with thousands expected to take part at each location.

People who want to take part can visit www.ksa.thecolorrun.com, collect the limited-edition participant packs, and follow this friendly guide to make sure they have an unforgettable experience.

 

Make exercise — in any form — a weekly family activity

Walking or jogging is easy, common and free. But doing it as a family is a fun way to spend time together and improve family life overall. Over the next few days plan a “test run” with the family to see how they fare. It will help them prepare for what is coming and create a special bonding opportunity with children, improve the family’s health, and teach the little ones a valuable lesson about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to develop into happy, active adults.

 

Fuel up for your first 5k

The family’s diet leading up to the race will help them stay energized and enjoy their first 5k run, walk or sprint. On the day of the event, offer the family a tasty breakfast that is packed with unprocessed carbs, for example a muffin and an apple, toast with jam and a piece of fruit, or a bowl of cereal topped with raisins or other dried fruit. Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and especially after finishing the run. Plan to arrive at the start line with enough time to use the washroom before the 5k begins without feeling rushed.

 

Show off your colors

It goes without saying that one of the things that makes this run different is the color. That means the best way to get those Instagram-worthy photos is to make sure participants are wearing clothes that help those beautiful colors shine through. While the limited-edition participation packs have everyone covered with the Hero Tour Color Run T-Shirt and other cool gear, it would work in a runner’s favor to sport the white or pastel clothes.

 

Take the essentials

As participants jog, skip or walk through the event, they will want to keep things as light as possible. This is why the event’s organizers recommend bringing only things people really need, preferably things that fit into a light carry-on zip lock baggie. This way they are free to go all out with their dance moves at the post-run finish carnival as well.

 

Make the memories last

Participants are encouraged to make sure to take a before and after photo as a family. One snap in the limited edition Hero Tour Color Run T-Shirt at the starting line, then another after the 5k once the participants are covered in color. Frame it or post it on Instagram to remind family members of their happiest 5k run together.