President Trump defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in a series of tweets Monday, saying he would much rather focus on the U.S. southern border and “let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land.”
Trump’s tweet comes as some of his staunchest allies in Congress warned that his move has opened the door for Turkey to slaughter the Kurds and for a resurgence of ISIS.
“Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad to protect the land of our enemy?” Trump tweeted.
“Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!” he added.
Trump then questioned why the U.S. should protect part of Syria when President Bashar Assad is “our enemy.”
“At the same time, Syria and whoever they chose to help, wants naturally to protect the Kurds I would much rather focus on our Southern Border which abuts and is part of the United States of America,” he added, boasting that crossings at the border are “way down.”
….and Assad to protect the land of our enemy? Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2019
A U.S. veteran who fought alongside the Kurds said Trump’s decision to pull troops out of northern Syria was an “abandonment of trust” and warned it could lead to the “wholesale slaughter” of America’s allies.
Michael Newton, an army veteran with deployment experience in Operation Provide Comfort, which defended Kurdish civilians as they fled their homes in northern Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War, told The Independent he disapproved of the president’s announcement.
“[The Kurds] are a people who believe in basic Democratic values and have long been oppressed from lots of quarters,” Mr Newton said. “The reason why the US has had such a strong relationship with the Kurds is because they believe in human dignity and fundamental human rights, and they’ve been oppressed many, many, many times. The only beacons of stability and peace in that region are Kurdish-controlled areas.”
As a result of Turkey’s airstrikes in Northern Syria, hundreds of ISIS affiliates and some ISIS fighters were able to escape from detention camps where they were guarded by U.S. backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).