Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Donald Trump threatens Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks Syrian Kurds

Donald Trump threatens Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks Syrian Kurds

Trump promised the US will hit Turkey financially if Ankara attacks the Kurds, but noted in a follow-up tweet that he does "not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey".

US-led operations against Isis in Syria have been spearheaded on the ground by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

President Donald Trump warned Sunday that if Turkey attacks US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria, the United States will "devastate Turkey economically".

Col. Ryan acknowledged the USA withdrawal in Syria had commenced Friday, but withheld details of specific military plans on troop movements.

The president defended his decision to withdraw troops, saying any remaining IS fighters could be attacked from an unspecified "existing nearby base".

However, Bolton later said that the U.S.' withdrawal would be subject to defeating Daesh remnants, and Turkey assuring the safety of fighters allied with the USA, i.e. the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG.

"The lasting defeat of ISIS is still the mission and they still present a very real threat to the long-term stability in this region, so it is not over yet". It also prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and drew criticism in Congress. Sen.

When Pompeo said earlier this month that the US wants to ensure "the Turks don't slaughter the Kurds", Turkey denounced Pompeo, saying he exhibited "a worrying lack of information".

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Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained over USA backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.

"We recognize the Turkish people's right and President Erdogan's to defend their country from terrorists", Pompeo said Saturday, according to NPR's Michele Kelemen, who is traveling with the secretary.

Trump also appeared to propose a 20 mile safe zone on the Turkey-Syria border so as to prevent clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Washington, however, considers the group as an effective force in the fight against IS.

"We have no problems with our Kurdish brothers, Arab brothers in Syria, Turkmens and other ethnic and religious groups".

But, he added, "we also know that those fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well".

More than 600 people had been evacuated from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group's remaining holdout in eastern Syria, a monitor said, as United States-backed fighters prepare for a final assault on the area.

Sousan said intensified dialog was important when set against challenges, "especially the expansionist ambitions that lead the policies of the Turkish regime".

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