Turkey has justified its ongoing military operation of northeast Syria to the United Nations by saying it's exercising its right to self-defense under the U.N. Charter, according to a letter circulated Monday.
Ankara said the military offensive was undertaken to counter an "imminent terrorist threat" and to ensure the security of its borders from Syrian Kurdish militias, whom it calls "terrorists," and the Islamic State extremist group.
Since 2014, the Kurds were US ally in its fight against ISIS in Syria. But U.S. President Donald Trump ordered American troops in northern Syria to step aside last week - a move decried at home and abroad as a betrayal of an ally.
The U.S. withdrawal cleared the way for Turkey's cross-border attack on Kurdish-held areas in Syria, which is now in its sixth day and has led to quickly shifting alliances.
The military action by Ankara sets up a potential clash between Turkish and Syrian regime troops, as the Kurds have now turned to Damascus for support. It also raises the specter of a resurgent ISIS, since the Kurds will focus their attention on the Turkish advance.
Turkey's position is that the main Kurdish group in Syria is linked to an outlawed Kurdish group in Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers' Party. Known as the PKK, that group has waged a 35-year old conflict against the Turkish state that has left tens of thousands of people dead.
Source: Daily Mail.