The fears of critics about the Kurds in Syria have been soaring since President Donald Trump announced to pull out the US troops from the warn-torn country, under the influence of his Middle Eastern ally, Turkey.
As the administration prepares to execute the long-standing withdrawal process, the President seems to be contradicting his credulity. On Sunday, Trump raised a warning against Turkey, threatening to “devastate” its economy if it were to launch an attack on Kurdish fighters in Syria.
On Twitter, Trump announced that the “overdue pullout from Syria” has been started, while the US continues to hit the few “remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard.” He notified to re-attack “from existing nearby base” if the group reforms. The President’s tweet also included an explicit warning, saying that he “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.”
While Trump threatened its ally, he also warned the Kurdish fighters to not “provoke” Turkey, while calling for the establishment of a “safe zone” between Turkey and the US-backed fighters.
The United States was exposed to unwanted perils, when on December 19 Trump announced to withdraw the US forces in Syria, assisting the Kurds fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Initially, the White House declared that the withdrawal would begin within 30 days. However, the withdrawal timeline was later extended to four months.
A decision that came without any deliberations with lawmakers and the Pentagon officials; it was denounced by many, including the Middle Eastern allies, leading to a resignation from the Defense Secretary James Mattis.
While Trump had agitated allies, top officials — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton — have lately been visiting the nervous allies in an attempt to mollify them.
Critics have raised concerns that the US troop’s withdrawal from Syria could open doors for Turkey to attack the Kurds. Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had rejected Bolton’s calls for the Kurdish fighters to be protected. Despite that, Pompeo has been hopeful that a deal to ensure the safety of the Kurds could be reached.
The matter has been getting complicated, as Turkey considers the US-backed Kurdish militias in Syria an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara deems as a terrorist organization.
However, the latest statements from Turkey are completely contradictory. To Trump’s warning, the spokesman of Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin responded via Twitter that they expected the US to honor their strategic partnership, and that they don’t “want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda.”
He also wrote, “Mr @realDonaldTrump It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the US terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG.”
He assured that Turkey doesn’t battle against Kurds, and that they will protect them and other Syrians against all the terrorists.
Trump’s blunt warning to Turkey came amidst the growing concerns of critics for Kurds. It might be possible that the President is afraid of the outcome of his decision of pulling out the US presence from Syria.
While Turkey has thrown the ball back in the US’ court, it is yet to be seen how Trump will react to Turkey’s sugar-coated revert to the warning.
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