Trump took to Twitter to justify his decision to pull US troops back from their positions on the Syrian border with Turkey, which potentially exposes Kurdish militias to an attack by the Turkish military. Contrary to what many critics of the move say, the US has “in no way… Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters,” the US leader said.
“While we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency,” Trump tweeted, doubling down on Monday’s threat to destroy the Turkish economy, if the country wages war against Syria’s Kurds.
Kurdish militias played a key role in fighting terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in northeastern Syria, with the US providing air support, weapons, and training. The empowerment of the Kurdish forces alarmed Ankara, which considers them terrorists and an extension of Turkey’s domestic Kurdish guerrillas. Trump announced his surprise decision to pull US troops back from the border just as Turkey was amassing its forces there for what appears to be preparation for a massive anti-Kurdish operation in Syria. Ankara wants to create a so-called “safe zone” along the border, where Syrian refugees currently residing in Turkey would be relocated.
The US President also said the Turks “have also been good to deal with, helping me to save many lives at Idlib Province,” the last remaining hotbed of jihadism in Syria. The area in northern Syria was insulated from a military offensive by Russia-backed Syrian government forces at Ankara’s request. Turkey feared such an operation would cause another massive influx of refugees into its territory.
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