President Donald Trump is defending his decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria – despite growing backlash here in Washington.
CGTN’s White House Correspondent Nathan King reports.
As the Turkish incursion into Syria began, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend his decision to pull troops from the area and effectively abandon his Kurdish allies saying:
“The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE…..”
But political friends and foes alike are angry – accusing the president of personally abandoning the Kurds who were instrumental in defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” wrote influential senator and normally close Trump ally Lindsey Graham, as the Turkish operation began. The U.S. Congress, rarely united on anything, is threatening sanctions against Ankara.
Feeling intense political pressure, Trump went before cameras and warned Turkey that he would act if Turkey went too far.
But the President said, “I will wipe out his (Erdogan’s) economy if that happens. I’ve already done it once.”
Trump, however, already gave the green light to Turkey to move into Kurdish areas of northern Syria in a Sunday phone call with Turkish President Erdogan. U.S. troops began to pull back from their positions very soon afterwards. Erdogan is scheduled to visit the White House next month.
Trump’s many critics here in Washington says this pullback in Syria runs counter to the U.S. national interests. The move, they argue, emboldens the country’s adversaries – Russia, Iran and the Assad government in Damascus – and shows to the world Washington is ready to betray its allies.