Turkey advances against Kurds as Trump administration defends move to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
By World Israel News Staff
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday that it has attacked 181 targets in north-eastern Syria and Turkish ground troops continue to advance against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, allies of the US in the war against ISIS.
Turkey says it intends to create a “safe zone” that would push Kurdish militia away from its border and eventually allow the repatriation of up to 2 million Syrian refugees.
President Donald Trump, who paved the way for Turkey’s assault on Syrian Kurdish forces, continued to defend his decision on Wednesday, saying that the Kurds didn’t help the U.S. in World War II.
Speaking to reporters in the White House, the president said, “And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example. They mentioned names of different battles. But they’re there to help us with their land and that’s a different thing.”
Trump set the stage for the Turkey’s attack when the White House announced on Sunday that it “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area,” in northern Syria. The statement followed a call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Members of Trump’s Republican party have criticized his decision.
On Wednesday in a PBS interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the president. Referring to comments by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who strongly attacked Trump’s move, Pompeo said:
“I love Sen. Graham, he is a friend, but remember where we were when this administration came into office and now just judge us by our results,” claiming that the administration had destroyed ISIS.
“There are a dozen other countries where the threat from radical Islamic terrorism continues to exist, and we, the United States, has to make sure we position our forces, our resources appropriately to reduce that threat to the United States,” Pompeo said.
However, Pompeo also said in the interview that the U.S. “didn’t give Turkey a green light” to invade Syria.
Trump on Monday appeared to warn Turkey against an attack. He tweeted: “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”