Rights groups and anti-war activists warned of a looming “humanitarian catastrophe” Wednesday as Turkish forces invaded northeastern Syria and launched airstrikes against Kurdish targets, forcing civilians to flee in panic.
The attack comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump gave his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a green light to begin the operation by announcing the abrupt withdrawal of American forces from northeastern Syria.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) warned in a statement Wednesday that Turkey’s assault “will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded.”
On Twitter, SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali accused Turkey of deliberately targeting “civilian areas.”
Turkish warplanes have started to carry out airstrikes on civilian areas. There is a huge panic among people of the region.
— Mustafa Bali (@mustefabali) October 9, 2019
Fighters with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which leads the SDF, told CNN that hundreds of civilians scrambled to escape northeastern Syria as Turkey began bombarding the area:
Hundreds of civilians in northern Syria have fled areas on the border with Turkey within the last 30 minutes, two YPG fighters and witnesses tell CNN. @npwcnn reports. https://t.co/Pm88pjHaON pic.twitter.com/iyoy1sjNcT
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) October 9, 2019
In a statement issued before Turkey launched its attack, Amnesty International said “it is imperative that all parties to this conflict respect international humanitarian law, including by refraining from carrying out attacks on civilians and civilian objects, as well as indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.”
“The international community must take measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by the Turkish authorities and pro-Turkey armed groups and Kurdish forces if yet another humanitarian catastrophe in northern Syria is to be avoided,” said Amnesty.
New York’s coronavirus crisis tracked back to European travel — not China: scientists
The New York Times reported Wednesday that scientists have tracked the cases of coronavirus in New York back to travel from Europe.
The Times explained that genomes show the link to those who came down with the virus back in February.
President Donald Trump has been celebrating his decision to shut down some travel from China, though not all travel. A whopping 430,000 people have traveled from China to the United States since the coronavirus crisis.
Warrant for journalists from Jerry Falwell Jr. came from Liberty University’s own police
A right-wing commentator interviewed Jerry Falwell Jr. during his show Wednesday, where Falwell said that there were two arrest warrants open for reporters who came onto Liberty University's campus.
Upon further examination of the warrant, the police officer who signed the warrant was Detective/Sgt. A.B. Wilkins 206 LUPD. The LUPD is not the Lynchburg Police Department nor is there a Sgt. or Detective A.B. Wilkins. It's the police department under the authority of Liberty University.
Trump defenders Diamond and Silk locked out of Twitter for spreading COVID-19 misinformation
Fox Nation hosts Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known as Diamond & Silk, were temporarily locked out of Twitter on Wednesday for urging people to go outside and develop immunity against the coronavirus.
“The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment. Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!” the pair tweeted from their joint account.
A spokesperson for Twitter told Mediaite their account was locked over the tweet.