1. 🌍 Turkey launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria, its president said on Wednesday, in an operation that aims to flush out a Kurdish-led militia backed by the U.S. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced "Operation Peace Spring" led by the Turkish military and Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, which will attack fighters from ISIS, as well as Kurdish forces from a group of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters known as the YPG. Days before, the Trump administration chose to relocate U.S. troops stationed in the region. On Twitter, Erdogan said the mission is "to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area" while he vowed to "preserve Syria's territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists."
The bigger picture: Vox reports that the lives of thousands of civilians are at risk as Turkish planes have started to carry out airstrikes on civilian areas. On Wednesday, President Trump said that the U.S. "does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea." His statement conflicts with the harsher sentiment of Republicans on Capitol Hill, who were heavily critical of Turkey and concerned that the offensive could permanently damage the U.S. relationship with its NATO ally. - NYTIMES