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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 339)

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hunter Biden to Leave Chinese Company Board, Addressing Appearance of a Conflict

Westlake Legal Group 13xp-bidenchina-facebookJumbo Hunter Biden to Leave Chinese Company Board, Addressing Appearance of a Conflict Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 Boards of Directors Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter Appointments and Executive Changes

ALTOONA, Iowa — Hunter Biden, whose overseas business dealings have drawn relentless attacks from President Trump and posed a threat to the candidacy of his father, Joseph R. Biden Jr., intends to step down from the board of a Chinese company, BHR, by the end of the month, his lawyer said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement also said that if Mr. Biden were to be elected president, his son would “agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign-owned companies.”

The decision is the first action the pro-Biden camp has taken that appears to acknowledge the extent to which Hunter Biden’s business practices have created an untenable problem for his father’s 2020 campaign. With the fourth Democratic primary debate only two days away, political strategists said Hunter Biden’s decision to leave the Chinese company could help defuse the issue at a time when some of Mr. Biden’s lower-polling Democratic rivals have suggested his son’s work overseas raises questions about conflict of interest.

“Hunter’s decision won’t stop Trump from spreading debunked conspiracy theories about the past,” said David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s former chief strategist. “But it does give Joe Biden an answer he didn’t have about potential conflicts of interest moving forward.”

There is no evidence Mr. Biden acted improperly to aid his son’s overseas financial dealings in China and Ukraine. Still, many on the Biden team have been gravely concerned about Mr. Trump’s ability to inflict damage with a barrage of baseless claims of corruption against the Biden family, some of which were included in an expansive pro-Trump advertising campaign.

Mr. Biden has consistently ranked as one of the Democratic Party’s leading presidential candidates. But his advantage has slipped in some recent polls, and his fund-raising has lagged his top rivals. Over the last two weeks he has begun to vigorously fight back against Mr. Trump’s criticisms and last week, in a fiery address in New Hampshire, he called for the first time for Mr. Trump to be impeached.

“You go to three foreign governments, not just all about me — three foreign governments, and ask them to come in and interfere in the sovereignty, the sacredness of the American electoral process?” Mr. Biden said Sunday at a union gathering in Altoona, apparently alluding to Mr. Trump’s dealings with Russia, as well as Ukraine and China. “Come on. Come on. This is outrageous. If in fact the House doesn’t move, let the facts fall where they may, then what does the next unethical president, if we elect one, what does that say they can do?”

The statement on Sunday from Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, said his client had served only as a member of board of directors of BHR, an equity investment fund manager, “which he joined based on his interest in seeking ways to bring Chinese capital to international markets.” It was an unpaid position. Mr. Mesires has previously said Hunter Biden became an investor in 2017, taking a 10 percent stake in BHR.

Mr. Trump has said with no evidence that the younger Mr. Biden used political ties to induce China to invest $1.5 billion in a fund he was involved in, an assertion Joseph Biden has denied.

The statement had been in the works for weeks, one Biden adviser said. Separately, a person familiar with the decision said it came at Hunter Biden’s initiative, not his father’s.

Mr. Trump has directed his broadsides against Hunter Biden as he faces an impeachment inquiry in the House, which was spurred by the president’s phone call to the president of Ukraine urging the government to investigate Hunter Biden’s financial dealings there. Subsequently, Mr. Trump publicly called for China to look into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings in that country.

Aides say Mr. Biden has been bracing for weeks for questions about his son onstage at Tuesday’s CNN/New York Times debate. His allies and advisers say that any Democrat who broaches the subject is playing into Mr. Trump’s hands and hurting the party’s cause, and some have suggested Mr. Biden is prepared to make that case if he faces personal attacks, though several of his more prominent opponents have so far been careful to avoid criticizing Mr. Biden’s family.

Still, the national focus on Mr. Biden’s family has become a political vulnerability, some Democrats say, moving him off his campaign message and forcing him to play defense as he faces questions about conflicts of interest.

“It becomes a distraction, and that’s what hurt Hillary Clinton in 2016,” said Bret Nilles, the Democratic Party chairman in Linn County, Iowa, alluding to the scrutiny of Mrs. Clinton’s email practices while she was secretary of state.

The Biden campaign’s strategy has been to push back firmly on Mr. Trump’s claims, and to argue that the president is attacking Mr. Biden because he is concerned about running against him in a general election.

“They can also say, for Democrats who are nervous about it, ‘Hunter’s taken a step to say he won’t be on these boards if the vice president is elected president,’ and they could say, ‘we’ve addressed it and it’s time to move on,’” said Jennifer Palmieri, who was Mrs. Clinton’s communications director in the 2016 presidential campaign. “There are these campaign rituals you have to go through when your campaign does hit a perilous patch like this in order to signal to the press you’re handling it right, and to reassure supporters.”

At the union gathering here on Sunday, Mr. Biden began his remarks by praising Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., for a morning television appearance where he defended “me and my family against these outrageous, lying ads” from Mr. Trump.

“That’s a good man,” he said of Mr. Buttigieg, to applause.

His campaign didn’t respond to several follow-up questions about the younger Mr. Biden’s decision, including about why Hunter Biden didn’t recuse himself earlier.

The last few weeks have been a challenging time for Mr. Biden, aides and allies have said. The Biden family, which is close-knit, has endured painful losses over the years, including the death in 2015 of Mr. Biden’s elder son Beau Biden; Hunter Biden is the former vice president’s only surviving son.

“Before he decided to run, we sat down and had a conversation about how hard it was going to be because we know Donald Trump, we saw what he did in 2016,” said Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware and a close Biden ally. “It’s different when it starts and it’s different when it picks up steam and it’s different when it’s, you know, a direct attack on you and your family.”

But, he said, Mr. Biden is “not going to be surprised” by any attacks on the debate stage on Tuesday, even highly personal ones.

Many Democrats think the Trump children, for their part, warrant tough scrutiny, given their own business dealings overseas.

In the weeks since news broke that Mr. Trump urged the Ukrainians to look into Mr. Biden’s family, he has held only a handful of public events, spending significant time at fund-raisers as the third quarter of the year drew to a close. He finished the quarter having raised about $10 million less than his two top rivals, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Mr. Biden has also toggled between responding sharply to Mr. Trump and working to pivot back to policy, though he has ramped up his criticisms of Mr. Trump forcefully in recent weeks, and is expected to make the president a major focus of his debate appearance on Tuesday, a Biden adviser said.

Jonathan Martin contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead

Fresh airstrikes from Turkey reportedly targeted civilians and a group of foreign reporters in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn, according to monitoring groups and Syrian Kurdish officials.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the airstrike killed at least nine people – including five civilians on Sunday, while other reports claimed that the convoy included foreign journalists, according to Haaretz.

A spokesman for the Kurdish forces put the death toll at 11 killed and more than 74 injured, but it was not immediately clear how many were civilians.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-2 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters on pick-up trucks drive in Tal Abyad, Syria, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. State-run Anadolu news agency reported Tal Abyad had fallen to a Turkish military offensive on Sunday. Even after the announcement, sporadic gunfire and the occasional mortar round could still be heard in the town, which is on the border with Turkey, while smoke could be seen rising from several points in the town. (AP Photo/Cavit Ozgul)

France 24 reported that at least one journalist was also among the dead, while two French reporters were also injured in the attack. The nationality of the slain journalist was not immediately confirmed.

ESPER DEFENDS US WITHDRAWL FROM NORTHERN SYRIA AS TRUMP DECRIES ‘ENDLESS WARS,’ TOUTS SANCTION ON TURKEY

French reporter Stephanie Perez said on Twitter that she as on the convoy with Kurdish civilians when the airstrikes hit.

“Our team is fine but some colleagues are dead,” she wrote in French.

Hawar News confirmed that one of their journalists was killed in the airstrike, while the northern Syria-based North Press Agency (NPA) reported one of its journalists – named by the agency as Delsoz Yousef – was among the injured.

Images of the attack showed bodies and severed limbs strewn in the street. Some of those killed appeared to be carrying guns. Activists said the gunmen were guarding the convoy.

WHY IS TURKEY ATTACKING THE KURDS? EXPERT BREAKS IT DOWN?

The airstrikes came hours after President Trump ordered all U.S. troops to withdraw from the area to avoid getting caught in the middle of the fast-escalating conflict. The announcement represents a major shift in alliances for Syria’s Kurds after they were abandoned by the U.S., with whom they were longtime partners in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The Syrian government said it would deploy troops along the border with Turkey to help Kurdish fighters fend of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the Kurds said.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-1 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A child stands across from a building damaged by a mortar fired from inside Syra, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Incoming shells fired from northeastern Syria hit the house earlier on Sunday. Two residents were at the house and were evacuated. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The dizzying developments reflected the rapidly growing chaos that has unfolded in the week since Trump ordered U.S. forces in the region to step aside, clearing the way for the Turkish attack on the Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger posed by the fighting.

“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He did not say how many would withdraw or where they would go but that they represent most of the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

Esper said that roughly 1,000 troops will be withdrawing from the north of the country. A U.S. official told Fox News that forces will not be leaving the country altogether, but will be moving southward.

MATTIS SAYS ISIS ‘WILL RESURGE’ IN SYRIA FOLLOWING TRUMP’S MOVE TO WITHDRAW US TROOPS

The Turkish military has said it aims to clear Syrian border towns of Kurdish fighters’ presence, saying they are a national security threat. Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

Kurdish officials announced they will work with the Syrian government to fend off the Turkish invasion, deploying side by side along the border. Syrian TV said government troops were moving to the north to confront the Turkish invasion but gave no details.

A Syrian Kurdish official and a war monitor also said Syrian government forces were poised to enter Kurdish-controlled towns from which U.S. troops are pulling out, following a deal reached through Russia.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-3 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter fires a weapon in the town of Tal Abyad, Syria October 13, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi – RC16435E4ED0

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deal covered the towns of Kobani and Manbij. U.S. troops were deployed in the towns after they were cleared of Islamic State militants in 2015.

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The Kurdish fighters had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its Russian allies for support.

The Syrian troop movements raise the risk of a clash between Syria and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday ruled out any mediation in the dispute with the Kurds, saying Turkey won’t negotiate with “terrorists.” NATO member Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to the Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

The United Nations said more than 130,000 Syrians have fled since the operation began last week. Turkey said 440 Kurdish fighters have been killed since the operation began Wednesday. The SDF said 56 of its fighters have died. Turkey also said four of its soldiers were killed, along with 16 allied Syrian fighters.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer, Lucia Suarez Sang and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

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North Carolina assisted living facility workers accused of running dementia resident fight club

Three employees at a North Carolina assisted living facility were arrested after police said they ran a fight club with elderly residents with dementia battling it out against each out.

The women were accused in court documents of watching, filming and even encouraging a fight between a 70-year-old woman and a 73-year-old woman at the Danby House assisted living and memory-care facility in Winston-Salem, Fox 8 High Point and other local media reported.

Marilyn Latish McKey, 32, Tonacia Yvonne Tyson, 20, and Taneshia Deshawn Jordan, 26, were each charged with assaulting disabled persons, according to the reports.

Winston-Salem police announced their arrests Friday following an investigation into a June complaint of elder abuse at the facility.

Westlake Legal Group Tyson-McKey-Jordan North Carolina assisted living facility workers accused of running dementia resident fight club Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc bab26627-d753-5afe-9d3b-03df4c1e8b12 article

Mugshots for Tonacia Yvonne Tyson, 20, Marilyn Latish McKey, 32, and Taneshia Deshawn Jordan, 26.  (Winston-Salem Police Department)

MISSOURI OFFICIAL INVESTIGATES DAY CARE ‘FIGHT CLUB’ CLAIMS

“When you’re talking about someone who can’t take care of themselves, we’ve got to give specific attention to that,” Lt. Gregory Dorn told Fox 8.

Documents from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show that during the filming of the fight one of the combatants was heard yelling “let go, help me, help me, let go” as McKey, Tyson, and Jordan continued to watch, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

According to the documents at some point one of the staffers told the resident to “stop screaming (expletive),” the paper reported.

‘I’M AN IDIOT,’ SAYS EX-SUBSTITUTE TEACHER ACCUSED OF RUNNING STUDENT ‘FIGHT CLUB’

Danby House said in a statement that McKey, Tyson, and Jordan were fired in June when managers were alerted to the situation.

“Additional staff training and a more rigorous vetting process for all new and existing employees at Danby House have been implemented,” the statement said.

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Fox 8 reported that two of the arrested women could not be reached for comment and that the third declined to comment.

Westlake Legal Group Tyson-McKey-Jordan North Carolina assisted living facility workers accused of running dementia resident fight club Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc bab26627-d753-5afe-9d3b-03df4c1e8b12 article   Westlake Legal Group Tyson-McKey-Jordan North Carolina assisted living facility workers accused of running dementia resident fight club Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc bab26627-d753-5afe-9d3b-03df4c1e8b12 article

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Jessie James Decker gushes over husband Eric Decker: ‘He’s like fine wine’

Westlake Legal Group deckers-getty Jessie James Decker gushes over husband Eric Decker: 'He's like fine wine' Sasha Savitsky fox-news/person/jessie-james-decker fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc b365abe3-056e-53f4-8145-11885b8c8dcb article

Jessie James Decker can’t keep her hands to herself.

The country singer gushed over her husband, former NFL player Eric Decker, in a new post on Instagram.

“He’s like fine wine,” the “Lights Down Low” singer captioned a photo of herself with her arms around her husband’s neck.

JESSIE JAMES DECKER STRUTS AROUND IN BLACK BATHING SUIT: ‘JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE’

The 31-year-old shares 4-year-old daughter Vivianne, 3-year-old son Eric Jr. and son Forrest, 1, with husband Eric, 32.

The mom-of-three, who previously said she and Eric would “plan” nights – are now enjoying an unplanned sex life after Eric retired from football.

“[Eric’s] retired now, so we can be spontaneous!” she told Fox News in February.

JESSIE JAMES DECKER FLAUNTS AMAZING BIKINI BODY IN TEENY-TINY SWIMSUIT

And although the couple has their hands full with three little ones, when it comes to having a fourth baby, Decker isn’t counting it out.

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“I would say never say never,” she admitted. “We’re not against it and we’re not planning it either. I think if it were to happen naturally, another baby is always a blessing, but as of right now we are very happy with baby Forrest.”

Westlake Legal Group deckers-getty Jessie James Decker gushes over husband Eric Decker: 'He's like fine wine' Sasha Savitsky fox-news/person/jessie-james-decker fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc b365abe3-056e-53f4-8145-11885b8c8dcb article   Westlake Legal Group deckers-getty Jessie James Decker gushes over husband Eric Decker: 'He's like fine wine' Sasha Savitsky fox-news/person/jessie-james-decker fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc b365abe3-056e-53f4-8145-11885b8c8dcb article

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U.S. Forces Leave ‘High-Value’ ISIS Detainees Behind in Retreat From Syria

The American military was unable to carry out a plan to transfer about five dozen “high value” Islamic State detainees out of Kurdish-run wartime prisons before the Pentagon decided to move its forces out of northern Syria and pave the way for a Turkish-led invasion, according to two American officials.

In the same area on Sunday, hundreds of Islamic State sympathizers escaped from a low-security detention camp in the region, taking advantage of the chaos caused by the Turkish ground invasion and the accompanying strikes.

Both developments underscored the pandemonium unleashed by President Trump’s sudden decision to order American troops to evacuate part of the Syrian region bordering Turkey.

That allowed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to order an invasion of Syrian territory controlled by a Kurdish-led militia that was at the center of American-led efforts to contain the Islamic State over the past several years.

On Sunday, the militia was forced to seek the protection of the Syrian government.

The Turkish government sees the Kurdish military presence so close to its border as a serious security threat, because the Kurdish forces have close ties with a guerrilla group that has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey itself.

Turkey’s invasion upended a fragile peace in northern Syria, and has already begun to unleash sectarian bloodshed.

It also risks enabling a resurgence of the Islamic State. The extremist group no longer controls any territory in Syria, but it still has sleeper cells and supporters across parts of the country.

ISIS has already claimed responsibility for at least two attacks since the start of the invasion, including one car bomb in a border city, Qamishli, and another on an international military base outside Hasaka, a regional capital further to the south.

Mr. Trump claimed last week that the United States had taken out the worst ISIS detainees to ensure they would not escape. But in fact the American military was able to take custody of only two British detainees — half of a cell dubbed the Beatles that tortured and killed Western hostages — the officials said.

As the week progressed and Kurdish casualties mounted, the onetime American ally known as the Syrian Democratic Forces grew increasingly angry at the United States. They cast Mr. Trump’s move as a betrayal.

The Kurds refused, the officials said, to cooperate in permitting the American military to take out any more detainees from the constellation of ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters. These range from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Eissa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, about 9,000 of them Syrian or Iraqi Arabs. About 2,000 come from some 50 other nations whose governments have refused to repatriate them.

Five captives escaped during a Turkish bombardment on a Kurdish-run prison in Qamishli on Friday, Kurdish officials said.

The Kurdish authorities also operate camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters.

One major camp in Ain Eissa was left unguarded on Sunday morning after a Turkish airstrike, and as Turkish-backed troops advanced close to the town, according to an administrator at the camp, Jalal al-Iyaf.

In the mayhem that followed, more than 500 relatives of ISIS fighters housed in a secure part of the camp escaped, Mr. al-Iyaf said. A Kurdish official also said that the ISIS flag had been raised in the countryside between the camp and the Turkish border.

But determining the exact state of play on the ground proved difficult, as the advances by Turkish-backed Arab fighters scattered Kurdish officials who had previously been able to provide information.

The likelihood of an ISIS resurgence remains hard to gauge, since the Syrian Kurdish leadership may have exaggerated some incidents to catch the West’s attention.

The camp escape came hours before the United States military said it would relocate its remaining troops in northern Syria to other areas of the country in the coming weeks.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper announced in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the United States found itself “likely caught between two opposing advancing armies” in northern Syria.

The reference was to the possibility of an impending clash between Turkish forces and the Syrian government and its Russian allies. Kurdish militias are now allying with them in the absence of support from their former American allies

On Sunday evening, the Kurdish authorities announced a deal with the Syrian government to allow the Syrian Army back into Kurdish-held areas, with regime troops due to enter the city of Kobani overnight.

“It has been agreed with the Syrian government, which has a duty to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty, that the Syrian army can enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to support the S.D.F. to repel this aggression and liberate the areas entered by the Turkish army and its mercenaries,” the Kurdish authorities said in a statement on Sunday night.

Where Turkish forces struck Kurdish-held areas

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 U.S. Forces Leave ‘High-Value’ ISIS Detainees Behind in Retreat From Syria United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Politics and Government Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Civilian Casualties

Ras al Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

KURDISH

Control

ISIS supporters escape from detention.

Government

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Deir al-Zour

Albu Kamal

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-335 U.S. Forces Leave ‘High-Value’ ISIS Detainees Behind in Retreat From Syria United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Politics and Government Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Civilian Casualties

Ras al Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

ISIS supporters escape from detention.

Turkish army

AND syrian

opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-300 U.S. Forces Leave ‘High-Value’ ISIS Detainees Behind in Retreat From Syria United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Politics and Government Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense and Military Forces Civilian Casualties

Ras al Ain

Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

ISIS supporters escape from detention.

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

KURDISH

Control

Other

opposition

Government

Control

Sources: Times reporting; Control areas via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | By Sarah Almukhtar, Allison McCann and Anjali Singhvi

Mr. Trump took to Twitter to defend his decision last week to pull troops back from the border region, portraying himself as powerless to end a longstanding feud between Kurdish militants and a Turkish government that sees their quest as a threat to its sovereignty.

“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” Mr. Trump wrote on Sunday.

Mr. Trump also tried to assuage his critics, including Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who broke with the president over his Syria decision and is promising bipartisan legislation to slap economic sanctions on Turkey.

“Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought.”

But his decision has already had devastating consequences for the Kurds.

They lost thousands of fighters in the battle against the extremists. Now they are now fighting a war on two fronts, with dozens of fighters killed since the new round of fighting began on Wednesday.

The fighting has caused the deaths of dozens of civilians killed in airstrikes, and has forced over 130,000 from their homes, according to the United Nations, and raised the specter of sectarian bloodshed.

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters killed a Kurdish politician and at least two other captives, one with his hands tied behind his back, in what could constitute a war crime. In a video of one of the killings, the fighters used a sectarian epithet to describe the victims.

The fighting has displaced people who have already been forced from their homes several times.

At the camp in Ain Eissa where around 500 ISIS sympathizers staged a breakout on Sunday, the 13,000 other residents include refugees from Iraq who had sought safety in Syria because of war and insurgency at home. Scores of residents fled the camp in the aftermath of an airstrike on Sunday, according to aid workers there.

“Everyone thought that the camp was internationally protected, but in the end there was nothing,” said Mr. al-Iyaf, the administrator at the camp. “It was not protected at all.”

By nightfall, the camp remained unguarded, with Turkish-led forces close to the outskirts of the city, Mr. al-Iyaf said.

After establishing a foothold on Saturday in Ras al-Ain, a strategic town close to the Turkish border, Turkish troops and their Arab proxies made major progress on the ground on Sunday. A Syrian Arab militia under Turkish command pushed deeper into Kurdish-held territory, blocking major roads, ambushing civilians and claiming the capture of a second strategic town in northern Syria, Tel Abyad, that lies adjacent to the border.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Erdogan announced that his forces now controlled nearly 70 square miles of territory in northern Syria.

They have also taken control of the important highway connecting the two flanks of Kurdish-held territory, the Turkish defense ministry said. This allows Turkish troops and their proxies to block supply lines between Kurdish forces — and cut an exit route to Iraq.

It also makes it harder for American troops to leave Syria by road.

Mr. Erdogan suggested his campaign was now expanding. He announced that the Turkish force would attempt to capture Hasaka, a major Kurdish-run city that sits well beyond the territory that Mr. Erdogan initially said he had set out to capture.

Since the Syrian civil war began eight years ago, northern Syria has changed hands several times, as rebels, Islamists, extremist groups and Kurdish factions have vied with government forces for control.

After joining American troops to drive out the Islamic State, the Kurdish-led militia emerged as the dominant force across the area, taking control of former ISIS territory and guarding former ISIS fighters on behalf of the United States and other international allies.

But with Turkey making increasing noise in recent months about forcing the Kurdish militia away from its border, the American military began making contingency plans to get about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees out of Syria.

The planning began last December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

American special forces moved first to get the two British detainees, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, out on October 9, in part because there was a clear disposition plan for them already in place: The Justice Department is planning to bring them to Virginia for prosecution. They are now being held in Iraq.

But as the military then sought to take custody of additional detainees, the Kurds refused to cooperate, the two American officials said. Privately, the Kurds — who announced a deal on Sunday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — also threatened to call for the United States to leave Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria.

Now, with the Pentagon withdrawing American forces, the ability to take any more detainees out — even if the Kurds were to start cooperating again — has essentially evaporated, they said.

Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt reported from Washington, Carlotta Gall from Akcakale, Turkey, and Patrick Kingsley from Istanbul. Ben Hubbard contributed reporting from Dohuk, Iraq, Eric Schmitt and Peter Baker from Washington, Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon, and Iliana Magra from London.

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Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead

Fresh airstrikes from Turkey reportedly targeted civilians and a group of foreign reporters in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn, according to monitoring groups and Syrian Kurdish officials.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the airstrike killed at least nine people – including five civilians on Sunday, while other reports claimed that the convoy included foreign journalists, according to Haaretz.

A spokesman for the Kurdish forces put the death toll at 11 killed and more than 74 injured, but it was not immediately clear how many were civilians.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-2 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters on pick-up trucks drive in Tal Abyad, Syria, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. State-run Anadolu news agency reported Tal Abyad had fallen to a Turkish military offensive on Sunday. Even after the announcement, sporadic gunfire and the occasional mortar round could still be heard in the town, which is on the border with Turkey, while smoke could be seen rising from several points in the town. (AP Photo/Cavit Ozgul)

France 24 reported that at least one journalist was also among the dead, while two French reporters were also injured in the attack. The nationality of the slain journalist was not immediately confirmed.

ESPER DEFENDS US WITHDRAWL FROM NORTHERN SYRIA AS TRUMP DECRIES ‘ENDLESS WARS,’ TOUTS SANCTION ON TURKEY

French reporter Stephanie Perez said on Twitter that she as on the convoy with Kurdish civilians when the airstrikes hit.

“Our team is fine but some colleagues are dead,” she wrote in French.

Hawar News confirmed that one of their journalists was killed in the airstrike, while the northern Syria-based North Press Agency (NPA) reported one of its journalists – named by the agency as Delsoz Yousef – was among the injured.

Images of the attack showed bodies and severed limbs strewn in the street. Some of those killed appeared to be carrying guns. Activists said the gunmen were guarding the convoy.

WHY IS TURKEY ATTACKING THE KURDS? EXPERT BREAKS IT DOWN?

The airstrikes came hours after President Trump ordered all U.S. troops to withdraw from the area to avoid getting caught in the middle of the fast-escalating conflict. The announcement represents a major shift in alliances for Syria’s Kurds after they were abandoned by the U.S., with whom they were longtime partners in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The Syrian government said it would deploy troops along the border with Turkey to help Kurdish fighters fend of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the Kurds said.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-1 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A child stands across from a building damaged by a mortar fired from inside Syra, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Incoming shells fired from northeastern Syria hit the house earlier on Sunday. Two residents were at the house and were evacuated. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The dizzying developments reflected the rapidly growing chaos that has unfolded in the week since Trump ordered U.S. forces in the region to step aside, clearing the way for the Turkish attack on the Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger posed by the fighting.

“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He did not say how many would withdraw or where they would go but that they represent most of the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

Esper said that roughly 1,000 troops will be withdrawing from the north of the country. A U.S. official told Fox News that forces will not be leaving the country altogether, but will be moving southward.

MATTIS SAYS ISIS ‘WILL RESURGE’ IN SYRIA FOLLOWING TRUMP’S MOVE TO WITHDRAW US TROOPS

The Turkish military has said it aims to clear Syrian border towns of Kurdish fighters’ presence, saying they are a national security threat. Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

Kurdish officials announced they will work with the Syrian government to fend off the Turkish invasion, deploying side by side along the border. Syrian TV said government troops were moving to the north to confront the Turkish invasion but gave no details.

A Syrian Kurdish official and a war monitor also said Syrian government forces were poised to enter Kurdish-controlled towns from which U.S. troops are pulling out, following a deal reached through Russia.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-3 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter fires a weapon in the town of Tal Abyad, Syria October 13, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi – RC16435E4ED0

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deal covered the towns of Kobani and Manbij. U.S. troops were deployed in the towns after they were cleared of Islamic State militants in 2015.

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The Kurdish fighters had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its Russian allies for support.

The Syrian troop movements raise the risk of a clash between Syria and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday ruled out any mediation in the dispute with the Kurds, saying Turkey won’t negotiate with “terrorists.” NATO member Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to the Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

The United Nations said more than 130,000 Syrians have fled since the operation began last week. Turkey said 440 Kurdish fighters have been killed since the operation began Wednesday. The SDF said 56 of its fighters have died. Turkey also said four of its soldiers were killed, along with 16 allied Syrian fighters.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer, Lucia Suarez Sang and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

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