This is a report from Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent for Fox News, after a phone conversation with an SF soldier in Syria. She filed the report by Twitter within the last two hours.
I just spoke to a distraught US Special Forces soldier who is among the 1000 or so US troops in Syria tonight who is serving alongside the SDF Kurdish forces. It was one of the hardest phone calls I have ever taken.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career."
This veteran US Special forces soldier has trained indigenous forces on multiple continents. He is on the frontlines tonight and said they are witnessing Turkish atrocities.
"Turkey is not doing what it agreed to. It's horrible," this military source on the ground told me. "We met every single security agreement. The Kurds met every single agreement. There was NO threat to the Turks – NONE – from this side of the border." "This is insanity," the concerned US service member told me. ""I don't know what they call atrocities but they are happening."
This American soldier told me the Kurds have not left their positions guarding the ISIS prisoners. In fact "they prevented a prison break last night without us."
"They are not abandoning our side (yet)."
The Kurds are "pleading for our support." We are doing "nothing."
Troops on the ground in Syria and their commanders were "surprised" by the decision Sunday night. Of the President's decision: "He doesn't understand the problem. He doesn't understand the repercussions of this. Erdogan is an Islamist, not a level headed actor."
This US Special Forces soldier wanted me to know: "The Kurds are sticking by us. No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Disappointed in the decisions coming from their senior leaders.
So what is happening on this opening day of Erdogan's Operation PeaceSpring? Turkey has launched air strikes and artillery barrages on Kurdish military and civilian targets along the entire border east of the Euphrates. The Rojava Information Center reported earlier today:
- 7 serious injuries (two of them female) to adults
- 4 children injured (between 2-6 years old), at least 2 dead
- Hospital in Sere Kaniye is bombed out of service
- Largest Christian neighborhood (Bisheriya) in NE Syria was bombarded, 2 civilians died
Erdogan's jihadi auxiliaries have crossed the border and IS sleeper cells have attacked in Raqqa. The YPG repelled at least one assault on Tal Abyad and destroyed a small Turkish outpost west of Kobani. The YPG has ceased all anti IS operations to deal with this new invasion. This is just the beginning of what will be a long, sad story.
Turkey has coordinated its strikes with Russia. We have no idea what was agreed to by these two. Qatar had voiced support for Erdogan's move. Saudi Arabia, surprisingly, has condemned it. Damascus, obviously, has also condemned it, but puts at least some of the blame on the intransigence of the Kurds. My guess is that SAA and Russian forces will cross the Euphrates to prevent Turkish and jihadi forces from retaking any oilfields. Seems the next phase of Operation Idlib Dawn will have to wait. Whether the SAA will end up fighting side by side with the YPG against Erdogan's jihadis or even Erdogan's troops is anybody's guess at this point. Stay tuned.