Defense Secretary Mark Esper said it was a "push" decision by Turkish President Erdogan to invade northern Syria and will further destabilize the region and put America's Syrian Kurdish partners "in danger." (October 11th)
Speaking in a television interview on Sunday morning, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said President Donald Trump ordered a "deliberate withdrawal" of US forces from northern Syria, an even more comprehensive withdrawal than previously ordered.
Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation", Esper told host Margaret Brennan that, after discussions with the president, and while Turkish troops continued their attack on the Kurdish forces more than initially expected, a decision was made to withdraw about than a thousand soldiers, instead of just the 50 who had previously been ordered to withdraw.
"I talked to the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team, and he ordered us to begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," said Esper, although he declined a deadline for withdrawal.
Esper's comments come as Turkey begins a military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish groups that have allied with the US in the fight against the Islamic State.
Trump commented on Sunday later on Twitter, criticizing "endless wars" and saying of the conflict: "Others may want to come in and fight on one side or the other. Leave them!"
He later tweeted about possible sanctions on Turkey – "stay tuned!" he wrote of the sanctions legislation drafted with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
….. The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight on one side or the other. Leave them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless wars!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019
Lawmakers on both sides of the corridor criticized Trump's decision to back down US forces as potentially allowing a resurgence of the Islamic State and abandoning a US ally.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York called Trump "abandoned on his duty," speaking at a news conference in New York City.
"He is making Americans a lot less secure, he is losing years of work to contain ISIS. He is making the United States more susceptible to terrorism by his actions, he may not intend to do that, but that is exactly what happened as a result of your actions. " actions."
Schumer said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, will soon introduce a joint resolution encouraging Trump to protect the Kurds, restrict Turkey and prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State.
Rep. Adam Kinziger, R-Ill., Who deeply criticized Trump's policy in Syria, later said "Face the Nation" of troop withdrawal, "will be terrible and you know the secretary is doing his job and you." I know he has to follow orders. "
Kinzinger said the decision threatened US national security and called the withdrawal "weak".
"We left them to the wolves," he said of the Kurds.
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