Amid uproar over President Donald Trump’s decision to order the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and the possible consequences such a move could have on Kurdish allies in the country, who risk attacks by Turkish forces, Trump warned Ankara against striking Kurds in the region.
The President took to Twitter Sunday to say that should Turkey attack the U.S. allies, he would “devastate” the country’s economy.
“Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms,” he wrote before adding, “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.”
Trump then added in another tweet that he also calls on Kurds not to provoke Turkey and stressed that it was time the United States pulled its troops from Syria and “stop the ENDLESS WARS!”
The threats come as a surprise as the U.S. and Turkey are long-time allies in the fight against ISIS and Turkey’s Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday that Ankara expected Washington to “honor” the two countries’ strategic partnership, CNN reports.
Kalin said in a tweet directed at President Trump that “terrorists can’t be your partners (and) allies,” adding also that “Turkey expects the U.S. to honor our strategic partnership and doesn’t want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda… Turkey fights against terrorists, not Kurds. We will protect Kurds and other Syrians against all terrorist threats.”
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton’s comments about troops’ withdrawal being dependent on Ankara’s pledge not to attack Kurds was a “serious mistake” and pointed out Turkey would “not compromise.”
The Syria drawdown began last week with the first military ground equipment withdrawn from the country, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation.