Politics: Trump calls Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria 'a bad idea' as Republican criticism mounts - PressFrom - US
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Politics Trump calls Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria 'a bad idea' as Republican criticism mounts

21:20  09 october  2019
21:20  09 october  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Erdogan, Trump to meet next month in Washington amid Syria tensions: Turkey

  Erdogan, Trump to meet next month in Washington amid Syria tensions: Turkey President Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have agreed to meet in Washington in November amid tensions over Syria, Reuters reported Sunday.The agreement came during a phone call Sunday where the two leaders discussed a "safe zone" east of the Euphrates River in Syria from which Kurdish fighters would be withdraw, Ankara reportedly announced.The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.Conflict between the U.S. and Turkey over Kurdish fighters in Syria has been brewing for years.America is allied with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which the U.S.

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President Trump urged Turkey on Wednesday to protect civilians and safeguard Islamic State prisons as it launched a military operation in northern Syria against Syrian Kurdish forces, saying the United States would hold its NATO ally responsible for the consequences of its decision to attack a key U.S. counterterrorism partner.

Hillary Clinton calls Trump's Syria pullout a 'sickening betrayal' of allies

  Hillary Clinton calls Trump's Syria pullout a 'sickening betrayal' of allies Hillary Clinton on Monday slammed the Trump administration's decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria. © Greg Nash Hillary Clinton calls Trump's Syria pullout a 'sickening betrayal' of allies "Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America's own interests," Clinton, a former secretary of State and senator and President Trump's Democratic rival in 2016, tweeted."His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office.

Calling the offensive “a bad idea,” the president said in a statement that Turkey had promised to avert a humanitarian crisis and ensure its operation did not allow the Islamic State to regain strength.

“We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments,” Trump said.

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The president also linked his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from an area of northern Syria now being targeted by Turkey — a move widely criticized as enabling the Turkish attack — to his goal of ending the insurgent wars that have dominated the U.S. military’s focus for two decades.

“From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars — especially those that don’t benefit the United States,” he said.”

Trump defends Syria move: The Kurds 'didn't help us' in Normandy

  Trump defends Syria move: The Kurds 'didn't help us' in Normandy President Trump on Wednesday criticized the Kurds, saying they didn't help the United States during World War II and that they were only fighting for their land in Syria during the battle against ISIS."The Kurds are fighting for their land," Trump told reporters at the White House during an event in the Roosevelt Room."And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn't help us in the second World War, they didn't"The Kurds are fighting for their land," Trump told reporters at the White House during an event in the Roosevelt Room.

Earlier in the day, Trump noted on Twitter that U.S. forces “should never have been there in the first place.”

The president’s remarks came as Republicans in Congress continued to warn that the Turkish assault was a threat to U.S. policy interests.

“A Turkish military advance into Syria threatens to halt momentum against ISIS, directly assaults our SDF partners, and could give the likes of al-Qaeda and Iran new footholds in the region,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted. He called on Turkey to “stop immediately and continue to work with the US to secure the region.”

ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State. The SDF refers to the Syrian Democratic Force, the Kurdish-dominated fighters who have been the principal U.S. allies on the ground against the militants.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally, noted that “It’ll be hard to protect America without allies over there, and the Kurds have been good allies.” The Turks were not entering Syria to fight the Islamic State, Graham said on "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday morning. “They’re going in to kill the Kurds.”

Pelosi says she and Graham will introduce resolution to block Trump on Syria

  Pelosi says she and Graham will introduce resolution to block Trump on Syria Senator Lindsey Graham has been trying to dissuade the president from withdrawing all the remaining U.S. troops from SyriaThe withdrawal has sparked perhaps the strongest criticism of the president from Republicans of any issue since Mr. Trump's presidency, and at a time when he most needs Republicans' support during the impeachment inquiry. Republicans have been trying to talk the president out of the decision, as Turkey moves deeper into Syria and Kurdish allies who helped the U.S. defeat ISIS fend for their lives.

Speaking of Trump, Graham said, “I hope he’s right. I don’t think so. I know that every military person has told him don’t do this.”

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from northern Syria earlier this week.© Leah Millis/Reuters President Trump ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from northern Syria earlier this week.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria was having “sickening and predictable consequences.”

“The U.S. is abandoning our ally the Kurds, who fought ISIS on the ground and helped protect the U.S. homeland,” she said in a statement. “This decision aids America’s adversaries, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and paves the way for a resurgence of ISIS.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. military was closely monitoring the events in Syria. One U.S. official, who was not authorized to discuss the situation publicly, said the Pentagon was tracking Turkish airstrikes in the region, including some that appeared to hit populated areas.

The official said the SDF had reduced its presence at prisons in Syria where thousands of Islamic State fighters are being held and at other camps for displaced people it controls.

Later in the day, an official said all operations focused on the Islamic State in Syria had been halted at this time.

Trump halting trade negotiations with Turkey, raising its steel tariffs to 50%

  Trump halting trade negotiations with Turkey, raising its steel tariffs to 50% President Donald Trump announced Monday that he would "soon" issue an order sanctioning Turkish officials, hiking tariffs on Turkish steel up to 50% and "immediately" halting trade negotiations with the country. © Thomson Reuters Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters hold the Syrian opposition flag at the border town of Tel Abyad, Syria, October 14, 2019.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey, a NATO member, had informed the alliance about its “ongoing operation in Northern Syria.”

“I count on Turkey to act with restraint & ensure that the gains we have made in the fight against ISIS are not jeopardized,” Stoltenberg said on Twitter. “I will discuss this issue with [Turkish] President Erdogan Friday.”

U.S. officials said Turkish defense officials had also notified a U.S. general based in Ankara as Washington’s military attache early Wednesday that Turkey’s operation in Syria would begin within a few hours. Turkish forces began pressing forward not long afterward.

The situation raises questions for U.S. troops in both Syria and Turkey.

The U.S. military established a combined joint operations center in Ankara several weeks ago to coordinate with Turkish forces on patrols in a “security mechanism” buffer zone in Syria along the border with Turkey. With Turkey turning away from that agreement, however, the U.S. troops at the center may be called on to instead monitor the Turkish operation and make sure that U.S. troops stay out of harm’s way, the U.S. officials said.

In a sign of Washington’s disapproval, Turkish forces were removed from planned flights by the U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State in Syria, officials said. Turkish access to some intelligence and surveillance information also has been curtailed.

Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS .
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey, penned an open letter in English rebuking President Trump's comparison of the group to ISIS amid a fight between Kurds and Turkish forces in northern Syria. © Reuters/NDN Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS The PKK said in Friday's letter that it "refused comparisons" to ISIS after Trump said at a press conference on Wednesday that the Kurds were "no angels" and that the PKK is likely "more of a terrorist threat" than ISIS.

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