Trump Followed His Gut on Syria. Calamity Came Fast.
Trump Followed His Gut on Syria. Calamity Came Fast.Rarely has a presidential decision resulted so immediately in what his own party leaders have described as disastrous consequences for American allies and interests. How this decision happened — springing from an “off-script moment” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in the generous description of a senior American diplomat — probably will be debated for years by historians, Middle East experts and conspiracy theorists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has flatly denied claims that his forces are committing war crimes during the military operation in norther Syria.
It follows repeated claims that there were several children injured in a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian border town of Ras al Ain, thought to have involved white phosphorous.
It is a claim vociferously denied by Turkey.
The president invited a relatively small number of foreign reporters to his Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul - the day after he brokered an agreement with the Americans to end the fighting.
Turkey agrees to Syria ceasefire: Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey's capital Ankara on Thursday.Pence met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to push for the ceasefire.
During the gathering, which ran for more than an hour and a half, the Turkish leader insisted his forces do not have chemical weapons. "I am very confident in no way do we have chemical weapons. It is not in the Turkish military," Mr Erdogan said.
The president referred journalists to a booklet his officials have produced called Myths and Facts - Disinformation Campaigns Against Operation Peace Spring.
In it, the Turkish officials say their enemies have resorted to "perception operations" for the purpose of "deceiving the national and world public opinion".
They produced an array of photographs which they said were fake but used to turn public opinion against the Turkish operation.
ISIS eyes breakout opportunity as Turkish forces batter Kurds
Terrorist group celebrates prison breaks, expands attacks as foes are beaten back.Despite Thursday’s announced cease-fire, Turkey’s week-old incursion into northeast Syria is already proving to be a propaganda windfall for the extremist group, which in recent months had been making faltering attempts at a comeback in parts of eastern Syria controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the analysts said.
There were several of people who were victims of chemical weapons but had been taken some time ago, in some cases in entirely different countries.
They included one photograph which appeared to show a severely burned man being treated after suffering injuries from a phosphorous bomb.
The picture was actually taken after one of the Israeli attacks against Gaza in January 2009.
The anti-propaganda campaign comes as the United Nations announced it was examining whether war crimes had been committed during the military operation.
Mr Erdogan told the group of foreign reporters the temporary halt in fighting "was going well" and there were "no problems".
But by the end of the first day, the Kurdish-led SDF issued a statement calling for international observers, claiming the US/Turkey agreement had not stopped fighting.
US troops in Syria going to Iraq, not home as Trump claims
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — While President Donald Trump insists he's bringing home Americans from "endless wars" in the Mideast, his Pentagon chief says all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the American military will continue operations against the Islamic State group. They aren't coming home and the United States isn't leaving the turbulent Middle East, according to current plans outlined by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper before he arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday. The fight in Syria against IS, once spearheaded by American allied Syrian Kurds who have been cast aside by Trump, will be undertaken by U.S. forces, possibly from neighboring Iraq.
It said: "Ankara, its occupation army and thousands of its mercenaries disregarded this agreement, did not abide by it and continued their aggression as if such agreement did not happen at all."
The president appeared to be enjoying his interaction with the foreign media, teasing one reporter: "Your Turkish is as good as my English" and ordering corn and baked chestnut nibbles for his guests.
But he responded angrily to one question when the correspondent referred to communication between the US president and the SDF Commander Mazloum Kobane.
"You are talking about a terrorist organisation," he said. "We are not at war (in northern Syria), because you can only go to war with another state. We are fighting terrorism and terrorists."
Mr Erdogan is clearly frustrated with what he perceives to be the lack of support from fellow NATO members, saying: "Turkey is a NATO member. When did the YPG become a NATO member?"
America’s Great Betrayal
America’s Great Betrayal
He went on to "strongly condemn" the approach of some countries and their stand towards the YPG.
The president said: "If you want to fight terror, you need to stand tall. The weapons have to be collected but some of the terrorists' weapons come from fellow NATO members like Germany, Britain and France.
"This is not acceptable."
He outlined several times how he expected other countries to share the financial burden of looking after the millions of refugees displaced by the fighting in Syria.
Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters on an armoured personnel carrier drive to cross the border into Syria, in Akcakale, Turkey, on Oct. 18. Turkish forces appeared to continue shelling the town despite yesterday's announcement, by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, that Turkey had agreed to a ceasefire in its assault on Kurdish-held towns near its border.
People react as the body of a man killed during Turkish shelling in the area surrounding the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain arrives at a hospital in the nearby town of Tal Tamr following the announced ceasefire on Oct. 18.
People poses with a Turkish flag while Turkish-backed Syrian fighters move by with armored vehicles from the Northern Syria for a military operation in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on Oct. 18. The USA and Turkey have reached a deal to suspend a Turkish military offensive in northern Syria for 120 hours, demanding Kurdish forces to withdraw from a designated 'safe zone' on the northern border.
Surface Studio, Surface Laptop, Surface Pro: what's the difference?
Syrian displaced children, who fled violence after the Turkish offensive in Syria, gesture as they get their food from Barzani charity at a refugee camp in Bardarash on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq on Oct. 18.
Vice President Mike Pence talks to members of the media regarding his earlier meeting with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey. Pence says United States and Turkey have agreed Thursday to a cease-fire in Syria.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper, (L), and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley walk to a closed door Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to brief senators on the situation in Syria and the wider region on Oct. 17, in Washington, DC.
A Syrian woman with her children, who were displaced by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria, wait to receive a tent and other aid supplies at the Bardarash refugee camp, north of Mosul, Iraq, on Oct. 17.
This picture taken on Oct. 17, from the Turkish side of the border with Syria shows smoke and fire rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria.
A woman covers her face as she stands along the side of a road on the outskirts of the town of Tal Tamr near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain on Oct. 16. Smoke plumes of tire fires billowing in the background are meant to decrease visibility for Turkish warplanes.
An Oct. 9 letter from U.S. President Donald Trump to Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan warning Erdogan about Turkish military policy and the Kurdish people in Syria is seen after being released by the White House in Washington, on Oct. 16.
US Speaker of the House Democrat Nancy Pelosi (R), Senate Minority Leader Democrat Chuck Schumer (C), and House Majority Leader Democrat Steny Hoyer (L) deliver remarks to members of the news media outside the West Wing of the White House following a meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Congressional leaders, in Washington, on Oct. 16. Trump met with Congressional leaders to discuss the US withdrawal from Syria.
The U.N.'s special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, left, meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, in Damascus, Syria, on Oct. 16. Pedersen said there must be a cessation of hostilities between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters as the world is "extremely alarmed by the humanitarian consequences of the crisis."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his ruling party legislators at the Parliament, in Ankara, on Oct 16. Erdogan called Wednesday on Syrian Kurdish fighters to leave a designated border area in northeast Syria 'as of tonight' for Turkey to stop its military offensive, defying pressure on him to call a ceasefire and halt its incursion into Syria.
Activists of the organization 'Women Defend Rochava' show the victory sign during a protest against the military operation of Turkey in the Kurdish areas in north-eastern Syria at the Federal press conference (Bundespressekonferenz) during a government's press conference in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 16.
ISIS Reaps Gains of U.S. Pullout From Syria
American forces and their Kurdish-led partners in Syria had been conducting as many as a dozen counterterrorism missions a day against Islamic State militants, officials said. Those same partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, had also been quietly releasing some Islamic State prisoners and incorporating them into their ranks, in part as a way to keep them under watch. That, too, is now in jeopardy.
A man look with binoculars from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district, in Sanliurfa, smoke rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, on the eighth day of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces, on Oct. 16.
Mourners attend the funeral of five Syrian Democratic Forces' fighters killed in battles against Turkey-led forces in the flashpoint town of Ras al-Ain along the border, on Oct. 14 in the Syrian Kurdish town of Qamishli.
A man kisses a poster of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during show of support for Turkey's operation in Syria, in the border town of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, on Oct. 14.
A Turkish-backed Syrian fighter peeks from a hole during clashes with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Oct. 14, in Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border.
Syrians return to their homes in the town of Ayn al-Arus, south of the border town of Tal Abyad, on Oct. 14, after it was taken over by Turkish-backed Syrian fighters during their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria.
Palestinian demonstrators wave their national flag and the Turkish flag in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 14, during a demonstration in support of Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria.
In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke billows from fires on targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces, on Oct. 13.
'It's clear the US has been sidelined.' Turkey and Russia agree to joint patrols in Syria
Amid a U.S. military withdrawal from Syria, the Trump administration's ability to address the Syria crisis seemed dramatically diminished.WASHINGTON – Russia and Turkey agreed Tuesday to take joint control of a vital strip of territory along the Syria-Turkey border, a victory for Moscow as the U.S. military continued its withdrawal from Syria.
A photo taken from Turkey's Sanliurfa shows a flag of Syrian National Army being waved near the customs gate, located at Turkish border of the Tal Abyad town, after it was cleared of PKK terror group and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a terror group, in Turkey's Operation Peace Spring, on Oct. 13.
Representatives of the League of Arab states attend an emergency meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Oct. 12, to discuss Turkey's offensive on Syria.
Another document handed out to the group was a portfolio of artist images of how the "buffer zone" will look in the future with a dazzling array of facilities including mosques, police stations, government buildings and apartments.
"But Turkey cannot bear the burden on its own," he said.
He wants a donor conference so countries can pledge money to help fund this vision for the buffer zone - and he expects America to be the frontrunner with donations.
I'm told the president has only held two of these gatherings for foreign media in seven years. He's fighting on two fronts - and one of them is the propaganda war.
He knows right now he may have succeeded in his first objective which was to get America to persuade the Kurdish forces to withdraw... now he is working on his second.
MSN UK is committed to Empowering the Planet and taking urgent action to protect our environment. We’re supporting Friends of the Earth to help solve the climate crisis, please give generously here or find out more about our campaign here.