Trump: We have not abandoned the Kurds in any way
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had not given up the Kurds in Syria “in any way.”
Trump wrote in a series of tweets on his Twitter account: “We may be about to leave Syria, but we have in no way abandoned the Kurds, and they are special people and wonderful fighters.”
The US president reiterated his threat to Ankara, saying “any unnecessary fighting by Turkey would be devastating for their economy and their very fragile currency. We are helping the Kurds financially / with weapons!”
Turkey’s defense ministry said Tuesday it was “completing” preparations for a military operation in northern Syria, amid conflicting signals from the United States over whether Trump would allow the attack.
The US president ordered US soldiers to withdraw from the border area between Turkey and Syria after a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Opponents saw Trump’s move abandoning the Kurdish forces, which were a key ally of Washington in its battle against ISIS.
The Turkish president has repeatedly threatened an attack on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria because of their relationship with separatists in his country.
But Trump also adjusted his stance on Monday, under pressure from international condemnation and criticism inside his Republican camp.
Ankara is demanding a “safe area” on the border with northern Syria, separating Kurdish rebel-held areas from the Turkish border and allowing the return of nearly two million Syrian refugees.
Ankara has in the past carried out two operations in Syria, the first against ISIS in 2016 and the second against the YPG in 2018, supported by armed factions affiliated with the Syrian opposition.