President Donald Trump has defended his move to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, amid concerns by allies that it meant a betrayal of the Kurds as Turkey has signalled a military assault in the area.
But in a defence of his position via Twitter, Trump said:”The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so”.
“Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out” he wrote.
He repeated his aversion to longterm U.S. military commitments overseas and said, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”
He said the U.S. “was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days” and “that was many years ago.”
“We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight,” he tweeted.
His defence came as senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham denounced the troop pullout as a “stain on America’s honour.”
Kurdish fighters, the target of Turkey, had helped the U.S. battle the Islamic State.
Graham phoned into “Fox & Friends,” which Trump is known to watch regularly, to express his displeasure at the “impulsive decision by the president,” calling it “short-sighted and irresponsible.” He said the move has “undone all the gains we’ve made” and “thrown the region into further chaos.”
“This to me is just unnerving to its core,” Graham said.
The U.S.-backed Kurds under the Syrian Democratic Forces said their American allies “did not fulfill their obligations” as U.S. troops began to withdraw from their positions ahead of the expected Turkish military operation.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers the Kurdish forces in Syria to be terrorists allied with Kurdish insurgents within his country and has long threatened a military incursion into the area.
Foreign policy experts, as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers, have warned that allowing Turkey into the region could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and been seen as a betrayal of a U.S. military ally.