Published: Wed, October 09, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Trump's decision on Syria draws wide criticism at home

Trump's decision on Syria draws wide criticism at home

On Monday night, the Turkish Defense Ministry said it had completed preparations for a possible military operation in northeastern Syria.

The decision was roundly criticized by some of the president's staunchest Republican allies in Congress, and Democrats who said Trump's decision to move the USA troops cleared the way for a Turkish invasion and risks the release thousands of IS fighters and their families detained in Syria.

The White House said in a late Sunday statement that the USA military "will not support or be involved in" an expected military operation by Turkey in northern Syria, and US forces "would no longer be in the immediate area".

11,000: Total estimated fighters in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) custody, in more than 30 makeshift prisons, such as converted schools and hospitals, per US officials.

Nikki Haley, Trump's former USA ambassador to the United Nations, said the United States is effectively leaving the Kurds "to die".

The Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria may open talks with Damascus and Russian Federation to fill a security vacuum in the event of a full withdrawal of USA forces from the Turkish border area, a Syrian Kurdish official said on Tuesday.

Turkey hosts more than 3.6 million Syrians who fled the civil war that began in 2011.

Even Trump's allies accused him of turning his back on the Kurds, who lead the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and say they lost some 11,000 fighters as the main frontline force against the Islamic State group.

Trump appeared to then backpedal, warning Ankara he would "obliterate" the country's economy if they went too far - without explaining what that meant.

After the statements, Turkey's lira was trading weaker at 5.7150 against the U.S. dollar, compared with a close of 5.70 on Friday.

The SDF said on Monday US forces have withdrawn from the northeast after failing to meet commitments and it will have a "great negative" impact on its war against ISIS.

The statement, which followed US President Donald Trump's phone call with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, also criticised "France, Germany, and other European nations" for not repatriating their citizens detained in northern Syria who had joined IS. And it casts uncertainty on the fate of the Kurdish fighters who fought alongside United States troops in the bloody and hard-won campaign against ISIS fanatics.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, says it is still trying to talk Turkey out of invading northeastern Syria.

The Kurds have been allied with American troops in the fight against the Islamic State militants, or ISIS.

Fuat Oktay said in a speech on Tuesday that Turkey is intent on combatting Syrian Kurdish fighters across its border in Syria and on creating a zone that would allow Turkey to resettle Syrian refugees there.

France, Germany, and other European nations have refused United States requests to take back nationals who fought for ISIL.

"We don't know what is going to happen", the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, said in Geneva, stressing there were "a lot of unanswered questions" about the consequences of the operation.

Trump said the U.S. was "not siding with anybody".

Trump also defended the decision to withdraw troops from the area, saying it was meant to protect USA soldiers.

Like this: