Trump: U.S. has no troops in area of Syria under Turkish attack

“We defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate and no longer have any troops in the area under attack by Turkey, in Syria. We did our job perfectly!” Trump tweeted.

By REUTERS
October 12, 2019 10:34
2 minute read.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Turkey and Syria during a formal signing ceremony for the U

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Turkey and Syria during a formal signing ceremony for the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement at the White House in Washington, October 7, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

 The US no longer has any troops in the area of northern Syria that is under Turkish attack, US President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday night.

He spoke as Turkey pounded Kurdish militia in northeast Syria for a second day, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee and killing dozens, in a cross-border assault that opens one of the biggest new fronts in years, in an eight-year-old civil war that has drawn in global powers.

At least 23 fighters of the Syrian Defense Force and six fighters of a Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group have been killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war.

The SDF said Turkish air strikes and shelling had also killed nine civilians.

In an apparent retaliation by Kurdish-led forces, six people including a nine-month-old baby were killed by mortar- and rocket-fire into Turkish border towns, officials in southeastern Turkey said.

It is believed that Trump’s actions paved the way for for the assault, which has been condemned both internationally and within the US, where even many of Trump’s Republican supporters believe he abandoned the Kurds, who have been staunch US allies in the fight against ISIS.

Trump on Thursday night defended his actions. “We defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate and no longer have any troops in the area under attack by Turkey, in Syria. We did our job perfectly!” he tweeted.


“Now Turkey is attacking the Kurds, who have been fighting each other for 200 years," he said. "We have one of three choices: Send in thousands of troops and win Militarily, hit Turkey very hard Financially and with Sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds!”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called for an emergency meeting of the coalition of more than 30 countries, which was created to fight ISIS. The coalition "needs to say today, 'what are we going do,' 'how do you, Turkey, want to proceed' and 'how do we ensure the security of places where fighters are held?'"  Le Drian said on France 2 television. "Everything needs to be on the table so that we are clear."

The UN Security Council in New York held consultations on the military assault, but came to no conclusion. US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said that, “the US has not in any way endorsed the decision of the government of Turkey to mount a military incursion into northeast Syria. President Trump has emphasized to the government of Turkey that they bear full responsibility for protecting the Kurdish population and religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring that no humanitarian crisis takes place.


"Turkey is now responsible for ensuring that all imprisoned ISIS fighters remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute itself," she said. “Failure to play by the rules, to protect vulnerable populations, [and] failure to guarantee that ISIS can not exploit these actions to reconstitute, will have consequences."

The European members of the UN Security Council called on Turkey to halt its hostilities, which they warned would increase the number of refugees in the region and exacerbate human casualties.


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