The Turkish military and a Syrian war monitor said Turkish forces have captured Ras al-Ayn, a key Syrian border town, on Saturday as part of Ankara's offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters after U.S. troops pulled back from the area.
The fighting is reportedly ongoing and Syrian Kurdish forces appear to be holding out in some parts of the town. Turkey considers Kurdish forces a national security threat due to the longstanding independence movement among many Kurdish people, who are spread across four different countries in the region.
More broadly, U.S. and Kurdish officials have said the Turkish incursion has made the U.S. and Syrian Kurdish forces' fight against the Islamic State in the region much more difficult, which was a common prediction among President Trump's critics when he announced he was ordering U.S. troops out of the region. Hundreds of fighters with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have reportedly been relocated to the front lines against Turkey and away from anti-ISIS operations.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon confirmed the U.S. is sending 3,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia, a move considered to be a deterrent against Iran, despite Trump promising to put a stop to the U.S.'s "endless wars" in the region. Trump administration officials argued that the presence of defensive troops in Saudi Arabia is different from actively engaging in a conflict in Syria. Read more at The Associated Press and The Washington Post.