President Donald Trump cheered on the agreement reached between the United States and Turkey that put on hold Turkeys military incursion into Syria.
“Without a little tough love, they would have never made this deal,” Trump said at the Oct. 17 rally in Dallas.
Earlier that day, Turkey agreed to pause the week-long offensive for 120 hours to allow for withdrawal of the Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit (YPG), a military force Ankara considers an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a terrorist group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.
Trump was criticized for withdrawing a few dozen U.S. troops from northern Syria after Turkey announced in early October the incursion was imminent.
Trump said both Turkey, a NATO member, and the Kurds, who successfully fought against ISIS with U.S. help, are “our friends.”
But the agreement wouldnt have been possible if the U.S. didnt step back and “let them fight a little while,” he said, noting that “for 15 years, 20 years, you couldnt make a deal. The Kurds didnt want to move, Turkey didnt want to budge.”
Turkey said it moved in to clear YPG from a 20-mile wide and about 250-mile long strip east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria along the Turkish border. It intends to set up a “safe zone” in the area to resettle 1-2 million Syrian refugees whove fled to Turkey to escape the Syrian civil war.
Statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggest he expects the YPG to move out of the whole “safe zone” and that the incursion will only end if the YPG complies.
Yet YPG made a deal with their previous enemy, the Russian-backed Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, to help defend the border.
Observations on the ground relayed by the Rojava Information Center indicate the Syrian forces contained Turkey and its Syrian proxy fighters to just several areas at the border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Oct. 16 Turkey seized less than 500 square miles in Syria, far from its indicated goal of roughly 5,000 square miles.
The YPG-led Syrian Demcoratic Forces (SDF) acknowledged the ceasefire, but described it as pertaining to areas “along the fighting lines” from the border town of Ras al-Ain to the town of Tal Abyad, a fraction of the “safe zone.”
Its not clear whether the SDF intends to withdraw from the entire “safe zone,” or just the areas from Ras al-Ain to Tal Abyad, or if it intends to withdraw at all. Its also not clear whether they intend to comply with the deals condition that they are to leave their heavy weapons behind for Turkey to collect. The SDF didnt immediately respond to emailed questions.
The U.S. did consult with the SDF before finalizing the ceasefire agreement.
Trump said the “Kurds have been terrific” and that “theyre going to move back a little bit.”
He also said the detention centers in northern Syria housing ISIS prisoners will be secured and the prisoners that escaped following the Turkish attaRead More – Source