Trump says despite pullout plan U.S. has not 'abandoned the Kurds'

Daniel Fowler
October 9, 2019

News that President Donald Trump has agreed to pull out USA troops and allow Turkey to enter the Kurdish held territory, political controversy erupted in Washington, where even prominent Republicans questioned Trump's decision for possibly abandoning Kurdish forces.

"I held off this fight for nearly 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home", he wrote. But he also threatened to "totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey" if its military action in Syria went too far.

Also on Tuesday, Trump defended his decision to pull United States troops in Syria ahead of a "long-planned" Turkish operation, even as Republican critics and others opposed his idea. Turkey has demanded US -allied Syrian Kurds leave the area.

Trump took to Twitter to justify his decision to pull back United States troops from their positions on the Syrian border with Turkey, which potentially exposes Kurdish militias to an attack by the Turkish military.

Trump said Turkey understands that "any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency".

Turkey, the USA and the European Union recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation. At least two convoys of buses carrying Turkish commandos headed to the border Tuesday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. His comments were the first Syrian reaction since Trump's announcement on Sunday.

"The homeland welcomes all its sons, and Damascus will solve all Syrian problems in a positive way, away from violence", Mekdad said in an interview with the pro-government daily Al-Watan.

In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, the senators said Trump's decision to pull back troops will severely harm U.S. strategic interests and reduce its influence in the region while strengthening Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

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Trump's statement has infuriated the Kurds, who are bracing for an imminent Turkish attack. They also worry that if the Kurds end up fighting Turkish forces, they won't be able to guard detention centers in Syria that house thousands of captured IS fighters.

President Bashar Assad's government abandoned the predominantly Kurdish area in northern Syria at the height of Syria's civil war to focus on more key areas where the military was being challenged by the rebels.

Given that those same Kurdish groups have fought alongside U.S. forces against the Islamic State movement in Syria, Trump's decision was seen by prominent figures of his own Republican party as a betrayal.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all parties in northeastern Syria "to exercise maximum restraint", spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Syria's deputy foreign minister has called on the country's Kurds to rejoin the government side after apparently being abandoned by their USA allies as northeastern Syria braces for an imminent Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish militias there. "We will not hesitate for a moment in defending our people", it said in a statement.

Without initially saying his administration was still trying to talk Erdogan out of invading, Trump ordered the 50 to 100 USA troops inside that zone to pull back for safety's sake.

"We have more work to do to keep ISIS from coming back & make our accomplishments permanent". The empowerment of the Kurdish forces alarmed Turkey, which considers them terrorists and an extension of the domestic Kurdish guerrillas.

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