Donald Trump warns Turkey of economic devastation if it hits Kurds

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2019

On Thursday, Turkey's foreign minister said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already made the decision to launch an offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, and that it would go ahead regardless of the presence of American forces.

President Trump consequently shocked allies and faced strong criticism at home last month when he ordered USA forces to immediately begin withdrawing from the approximately 30% of Syria controlled by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.

Pompeo's remarks follow tensions between the U.S. and Turkey over the fate of Washington's allies in the fight against ISIS.

The news follows weeks of confusion over Donald Trump's plans for U.S. withdrawal from the country.

So far the United States military has only started to move equipment out of Syria. It says about 10 armored vehicles and other equipment arrived at a US base in al-Rmelan, in al-Hasaka province.


The threats have intensified in recent days as the US begins the withdrawal process from Syria on President Donald Trump's orders.

In his comments, Bolton had said that he, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held the understanding that Turkey had agreed "not to harm the Kurds who had fought with us against ISIS".

Turkey has criticized the US working with the terrorist PKK/PYD to fight Daesh, saying that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

Despite Turkey's vows to the contrary, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday he was confident the two nations can agree on a way to protect U.S. -allied Kurdish rebels in Syria after American troops withdraw from the country.

Trump's decision to call back USA troops in Syria, who were first deployed in 2015, was followed a day later by the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who wrote a letter to the president saying he had the right to have a secretary of defense "whose views are better aligned with yours".


Following the announcement, he was forced to reiterate the U.S.'s commitment to its more substantial troop to neighboring Iraq, where the US -led coalition is also fighting ISIS.

Most recently, both the Pentagon and U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton have said there is no deadline for U.S. troops in Syria to return home.

Operation Inherent Resolve, the United States military's term for its intervention in Syria and Iraq, now means "implementing the orderly withdrawal of forces from northeast Syria within a framework coordinated across the U.S. government", Pentagon spokesperson Sean Robertson said on Friday evening.

Ankara sees the backbone of that alliance, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

Mr Pompeo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was a "tactical change" but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran's influence remained the same. But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 American troops is expected to depart even as the White House says it will keep up the pressure on ISIS.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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