Trump says no to Erdogan’s offensive against Kurds in Syria. Ankara prepares the attack

The US president threatens the Turks: if the operations are "beyond the limits" the White House is ready to "annihilate" the country's economy. For the Kurds, the withdrawal of US troops is a "stab in the back". Analysts and experts warn: an offensive against the Turks would open the path for a return of ISIS.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Less than 24 hours after the (alleged) "go-ahead" to the Ankara offensive across Syria, anticipated by the withdrawal of US troops in the area, US President Donald Trump changed his mind and returns to threaten Ankara: if it goes "beyond the limits", Washington will not hesitate to "annihilate" the country's economy. However, the Turkish counterpart for now does not seem to care and announces that "all preparations for the operation have been completed".

President Trump, in a series of tweets, told Turkey not to "take advantage" of the decision to withdraw part of the American troops in northern Syria. " As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over...".

At the same time the US leader defended the decision to reduce the number of soldiers in the region, while risking opening the way for Turkey to attack Kurdish fighters, fundamental in the past in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) . The withdrawal was the subject of fierce criticism even by the Republican allies of the US president.

The United States has about a thousand troops throughout Syria. Yesterday the Kurdish Ypg militia (the People's Protection Units) called Trump's choice to withdraw "a stab in the back". In Iraq and Syria the Kurds have worked and fought side by side with the US soldiers against Daesh. According to analysts and experts on Middle Eastern issues, it could also favor a reorganization of the Islamic State which could take advantage of the confusion to reposition itself and conquer new territories.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that his goal is to combat the Kurdish militias in the border area and to set up a "safe zone" in which to place up to two of the more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees today in Turkey. According to some sources, yesterday the Ankara artillery started bombing targets of Kurdish militias in al-Malikiyah, in the north-eastern Syrian province of Hassaké, near the Turkish border.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman also spoke on the issue, pointing out that the Defense Department "does not support a Turkish operation in northern Syria".