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Trump announced his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and abandon our allies, the Kurds, on Putin’s birthday, October 7. Happy birthday, Vlad!
From today’s New York Times:
President Trump on Wednesday distanced the United States from the conflict between Turkey and America’s Kurdish allies in Syria, saying that the battle “has nothing to do with us” as he defended his decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria.
Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters alongside the visiting president of Italy, said the American soldiers he had ordered to pull back were not in harm’s way and that “they shouldn’t be as two countries fight over land.”
“That has nothing to do with us,” Mr. Trump said, all but washing his hands of the Kurdish fighters who have fought alongside American troops against the Islamic State for years but have now been left to fend for themselves. “The Kurds know how to fight, and, as I said, they’re not angels, they’re not angels,” he said.
The president’s comments came as Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Robert C. O’Brien, the president’s new national security adviser, were preparing to fly to Turkey in a bid to persuade President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pull back his offensive.
Republicans and Democrats alike have denounced the president for abandoning the Kurds, who now are fighting Turkish forces in a chaotic battlefield that also has put at risk American troops pulling back from the Syrian border with Turkey. Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw the small American force from the border, where they had served as a kind of trip wire deterring Turkish aggression, has been widely criticized as a signal permitting Turkey to launch its offensive.
Mr. Trump insisted his handling of the matter has been “strategically brilliant” and minimized concerns for the Kurds, implying that they allied with the United States only out of their own self-interest. “We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us,” he said.
He dismissed concerns that his decision has opened the way for Russia, Iran and the Syrian government to move into the abandoned territory and reassert their influence in the area. “I wish them all a lot of luck,” Mr. Trump said. “If Russia wants to get involved in Syria, that’s really up to them.”