The White House revealed late on Sunday that Turkey is set to initiate its military action in northeast Syria in an area where U.S. troops have been deployed and operating with Kurdish-led forces, Fox News informed.
The U.S. will not be part of this action, the White House stated. President Donald Trump spoke with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the phone and after that revealed that the American troops will be moved from the area.
“The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer,” the statement read. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the territorial “Caliphate” by the United States.”
After the announcement, Kurdish-led forces in Syria informed that U.S. troops have started withdrawing from areas along Turkey’s border.
The White House announcement emerges less than a week after Gen. Mark Milley was appointed as U.S. military’s top officer – chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – replacing Gen. Joe Dunford and more than two months after Defense Secretary Mark Esper replaced Jim Mattis who resigned in December over the President’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
Turkish President said that his country has given enough warning and have “acted with enough patience.” Erdogan has voiced frustration with Washington’s support for Kurdish groups in Syria.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said that it is committed to the deal between Turkey and the U.S. to preserve stability in the region.
“However, we will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to DEFEND ourselves and our people,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted a day earlier.
The White House’s decision was heavily criticized on socia media and it was stated that U.S. is practically abandoning the Kurds.
Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., an Iraq war veteran, said on Twitter, “Allowing Turkey to move into northern Syria is one of the most destabilizing moves we can do in the Middle East. The Kurds will never trust America again. They will look for new alliances or independence to protect themselves.”