Donald Trump has ordered an urgent evacuation of remaining US troops from northern Syria, saying that Washington won’t take sides in the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds.
“Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change,” Trump wrote on Twitter. He added that his predecessors “made a bad decision” when they involved the US “into the Middle East Wars.”
At the start of the week, the US-led NATO bloc member, Turkey, launched a massive military operation against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, who have been Washington’s main allies in fighting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
He rejected calls for the US to defend the Kurds, saying: “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them!” As for Washington, it will only be “monitoring” the situation in northern Syria, he added.
…..The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019
Trump has ordered a “deliberate evacuation” of the remaining 1,000 US troops from northern Syria as they were caught between the advancing Turkish military and the Kurdish forces, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS’ Face the Nation program.
The president’s order was made late on Saturday and urged the pullout to be organized “as safely and quickly as possible,” he said.
The US has already recovered several dozen of its servicemen, who used to be embedded with the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), thus basically giving Ankara the green light to launch its military operation. The Kurds decried the move by Washington as a betrayal.
The US initially tried to talk Turkey out of intervening in northern Syria, with Trump even threatening to “wipe out” the country’s economy. But Ankara, who says it is looking to create a “safe zone” near its border with the Kurdish-held areas, dismissed the US threats.
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