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US News Trump declares 'big success' in Syria, lifts sanctions on Turkey

07:05  24 october  2019
07:05  24 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Trump Followed His Gut on Syria. Calamity Came Fast.

  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.

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump lifted sanctions on Turkey Wednesday and declared a " big success " in Syria , saying Turkish officials had agreed to permanently end their military attack on Syrian Kurdish forces. Trump 's move came even as his own envoy for Syria , James Jeffrey

Donald Trump has announced that the US will lift sanctions on Turkey , taking credit for a ceasefire deal “The government of Turkey informed my administration that they would be stopping combat and their offensive in Syria , and making Big success on the Turkey / Syria Border. Safe Zone created!

(Video by NBC News)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump lifted sanctions on Turkey Wednesday and declared a "big success" in Syria, saying Turkish officials had agreed to permanently end their military attack on Syrian Kurdish forces. 

Trump's move came even as his own envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, condemned Turkey's short but brutal military assault as deeply disruptive and said Turkish forces may have committed war crimes in its attack on the Kurds.

Turkey agrees to Syria ceasefire: Vice President Mike Pence

  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.

The White House claimed victory on a “permanent” ceasefire in Syria while Kurds still feel betrayed by the U.S.’s withdrawal.

President Trump says he is lifting all sanctions against Turkey following yesterday's deal between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish "It’s been very successful . We’ll see what happens," Trump said of his dealing with Turkey on Syria , saying, " Turkey has done what we’ve asked them to

It also came as Russia gained a key foothold in Syria and members of Congress expressed growing concerns about Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces stationed at the Syria-Turkey border. Trump imposed the sanctions on Turkey last week after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a military assault on the Kurds, a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State terrorists.

Lawmakers in both parties pilloried Trump's decision to lift sanctions.

"It’s unthinkable that Turkey would not suffer consequences for malevolent behavior which was contrary to the interests of the United States and our friends," Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted after Trump's announcement. 

ISIS eyes breakout opportunity as Turkish forces batter Kurds

  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.

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday the United States would be lifting sanctions on Turkey , hailing the success of a ceasefire Tom Brenner, Reuters | U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the conflict in Syria as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State

President Trump announced Wednesday that the United States will lift sanctions on Turkey But in a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump proclaimed that the situation on the Turkey - Syria border was a “ big success .” Even as Trump declared success in Syria , U.S. policy appeared to be in disarray.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, contradicted Trump's assertion that Turkey had agreed to stop its attack on the Kurds and said Russia would be a pernicious force in the region.

Gallery: Tensions in Syria (Photo Services)

"Erdogan has NOT agreed to stop all military operations in #Syria," Rubio tweeted. The senator said Russia will "remove Kurdish forces from east & west of current Turk controlled areas, including Kurdish cities" and take control of five oil fields in Syria.  

More than 60 British children trapped in northeast Syria, charity warns

  More than 60 British children trapped in northeast Syria, charity warns More than 60 British children are trapped in northeast Syria after fleeing IS-held areas - around double the estimated figure previously reported. The majority are younger than five years old and are suffering in dire conditions in desolate camps, Save the Children disclosed.Others have been displaced yet again following the recent escalation in fighting.Older children who lived under Islamic State have witnessed acts of brutality including beheadings and have been left with physical injuries and psychological needs following years of conflict and brutal repression.

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump lifted sanctions on Turkey Wednesday and declared a " big success " in Syria , saying Turkish officials had Trump 's move came even as his own envoy for Syria , James Jeffrey, condemned Turkey 's short but brutal military assault as deeply disruptive and

Trump Lifts Sanctions on Turkey .After lifting the sanctions imposed on the country following its military actions in Syria , President Trump declared a " big success .". Big Trump 's top envoy to Syria has already expressed concerns that Turkey has committed war crimes against Kurdish forces.

While critics ridiculed Trump's claim of a victory, the president said a U.S.-brokered cease-fire between Turkey and the Kurds had held "beyond most expectations" and reiterated his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the region. Trump said he would leave a limited number of troops in northeastern Syria to secure oil fields there. 

He said his detractors want an endless, unlimited U.S. commitment in a dangerous region.

a truck that is driving down the road © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

"They are the ones who got us into the Middle East mess," he said during a 15-minute speech at the White House. "Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand." 

The president said he could reimpose sanctions if Turkey fails to honor its obligations "including the protection of religious and ethnic minorities."

The president had come under withering criticism for his decision to withdraw U.S. forces.

Russian forces armored vehicles patrol the Syrian border in Kobani, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. Russian military police began patrols on part of the Syrian border Wednesday, quickly moving to implement an accord with Turkey that divvies up control of northeastern Syria. (AP Photo) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Russian forces armored vehicles patrol the Syrian border in Kobani, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. Russian military police began patrols on part of the Syrian border Wednesday, quickly moving to implement an accord with Turkey that divvies up control of northeastern Syria. (AP Photo)

"Trump’s Syria decision not only will do lasting damage to America’s reputation as a trustworthy ally," said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a hawkish Washington-based foreign policy research institute. 

Residents of northeast Syria city pelt departing US troops

  Residents of northeast Syria city pelt departing US troops AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Angry over the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, residents of a Kurdish-dominated city pelted departing American military vehicles with potatoes Monday as they drove through. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said U.S. troops will stay in eastern Syria to protect Kurdish-held oil fields for at least the coming weeks and he was discussing options to keep them there. A video by the Kurdish news agency showed a convoy of armored vehicles driving through the northeastern city of Qamishli. People in the street hurled potatoes at the vehicles, shouting, "No America," and "America liar," in English."Like rats, America is running away," one man shouted in Arabic.

"It also rejects the importance of American foreign goals more than seven decades in the making," he said, to contain an expansionist Russia, support U.S. allies and orient U.S. policy away from the "fiction" that Americans will be safe from threats abroad if the U.S. retreats from the world. 

In Syria, the situation on the ground remains in flux. Russia has moved to fill a power vacuum created by the U.S. departure, the Kurds fear an ethnic cleansing by Turkish forces, and an estimated 100 Islamic State fighters have escaped from Kurdish detention facilities.  

A man with children stands next to a Turkish soldier in the town of Tal Abyad, Syria October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi © Thomson Reuters A man with children stands next to a Turkish soldier in the town of Tal Abyad, Syria October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

On Tuesday, Russia and Turkey agreed 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. Russian military police crossed the Euphrates River and entered northern Syria on Wednesday morning, according to Kremlin-controlled state media. 

Meanwhile, Turkey's assault, even while suspended, has spawned a humanitarian crisis in Syria. The United Nations estimated Tuesday that about 180,000 Syrians have been forced to leave their homes or shelters, including 80,000 children, all in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

And the pact between Russia's Putin and Turkey's leader, Erdogan, gives Moscow a crucial foothold in the Middle East. Under the agreement, Russia and Turkey agreed to work together to remove Kurdish fighters from a 20-mile zone in northern Syria.

Russia, Turkey seal power in northeast Syria with new accord

  Russia, Turkey seal power in northeast Syria with new accord ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Russia and Turkey reached an agreement Tuesday that would cement their power in Syria, deploying their forces across nearly its entire northeastern border to fill the void left by President Donald Trump's abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces. ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Russia and Turkey reached an agreement Tuesday that would cement their power in Syria, deploying their forces across nearly its entire northeastern border to fill the void left by President Donald Trump's abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Video: How the Syria conflict began


"It is clear that the United States has been sidelined,” Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday during a hearing on Trump's actions in Syria.

On Wednesday, Jeffrey, Trump's Syria envoy, faced a barrage of pointed questions from lawmakers in both parties on the president's decision to withdraw from Syria, which many say was a betrayal of the Kurdish fighters who helped America defeat the Islamic State's caliphate in the country. 

President Donald Trump walks away from Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Trump is returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) © ASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trump walks away from Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Trump is returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

"We all know that Trump gave Erdogan the green light to charge into northern Syria," said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said Trump's move had led to a "worst-case scenario" in the region.

"We handled (the Kurdish fighters) over to be slaughtered … with no warning and for no good reason," Engel said. "How could the United States do something so disgraceful." 

Jeffrey defended Trump's decisions, rejecting the assertion that the president gave Erdogan a green light to attack the Kurds. He said Turkey would have attacked regardless of Trump's move, and said U.S. troops in Syria had never been given the mission to defend the Kurds against a Turkish attack. 

Kurdish and Arab protesters flash the victory sign and chant slogans against Turkish President Tayip Erdogan during a protest in front the United Nations Headquarters in the town of Qamishli, Syria October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed © Thomson Reuters Kurdish and Arab protesters flash the victory sign and chant slogans against Turkish President Tayip Erdogan during a protest in front the United Nations Headquarters in the town of Qamishli, Syria October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The Cease-Fire in Syria Worked (More or Less)

  The Cease-Fire in Syria Worked (More or Less) Whatever the agreement was, it left the status quo in place, at least for the time being.The five-day period of the agreement did include clashes, which U.S. officials downplayed, but it also stanched a chaotic period following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling American forces out of Syria, in which scores were killed and thousands were displaced.

"The Turkish incursion into northeast Syria is a tragedy" that has emboldened ISIS and created chaos in the region, Jeffrey said.

Asked Wednesday about accusations of Turkish war crimes, Jeffrey said: "We’re looking into those allegations, and we actually have a set of packages and sent a high-level demarche to Ankara demanding an explanation." That formal appeal to Turkey likely refers to the assassination of Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf, among other executions. 

Credible reports of war crimes – being committed against Kurds by Turkish-supported militias – continue to emerge from Syria, said a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly. Verifying the incidents, which have occurred despite the cease-fire, has been complicated by the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region, the official said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a news conference following their talks in Sochi, Russia October 22, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. © Thomson Reuters Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a news conference following their talks in Sochi, Russia October 22, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Democrats expressed particular outrage that Trump has left troops in Syria to protect the oil fields there, while saying nothing about protecting the Kurds. 

"All he talks about is securing the oil," said Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., said at Wednesday's hearing. "I have not heard him say a darn thing about securing the people" living in a region now upended by Turkey's incursion.

Trump's moves in Syria have alienated even his staunchest GOP allies, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. And Tuesday's agreement between Russia and Turkey has only exacerbated concerns on Capitol Hill. 

A view of the town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, hours before a five-day cease-fire in northern Syria between Turkish troops and Syrian Kurdish fighters was set to expire, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey and Russia have reached a deal under which Syrian Kurdish fighters will move 30 kilometers away from a border area in northeast Syria within 150 hours. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) © ASSOCIATED PRESS A view of the town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, hours before a five-day cease-fire in northern Syria between Turkish troops and Syrian Kurdish fighters was set to expire, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey and Russia have reached a deal under which Syrian Kurdish fighters will move 30 kilometers away from a border area in northeast Syria within 150 hours. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Until two weeks ago, Kurdish forces controlled much of northeastern Syria. After an Oct. 6 phone call between Trump and Erdogan, Turkey invaded Syria and began pushing the Kurds south. Under the U.S.-brokered cease-fire, the Kurdish fighters agreed to pull back deeper into Syria, and Turkey agreed to stop its assault.

Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook and John Fritze

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The Cease-Fire in Syria Worked (More or Less) .
Whatever the agreement was, it left the status quo in place, at least for the time being.The five-day period of the agreement did include clashes, which U.S. officials downplayed, but it also stanched a chaotic period following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling American forces out of Syria, in which scores were killed and thousands were displaced.

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