Thursday, October 17, 2019

Turkey Rejects U.S. Call for Immediate Cease-Fire in Syria

Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
Turkish troops pursue their offensive against Kurdish forces, as Russia fills void created by U.S. departure from the region
Turkey dismissed a U.S. call for an immediate cease-fire in northeast Syria, pressing ahead with its military offensive as senior Trump administration officials rushed to Ankara to try to halt fighting triggered by the withdrawal of American troops from the region.
President Trump on Tuesday dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence to the Turkish capital, where they will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to urge him to stop a weeklong military incursion in northeastern Syria.
But Mr. Trump, defending his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, refrained on Wednesday from criticizing Turkey for the assault on Kurdish-held areas, saying Ankara’s incursion has “nothing to do with us.”
The U.S. imposed sanctions and raised steel tariffs on Turkey after the incursion, and congressional leaders were moving on Wednesday toward adopting a measure harshly critical of the U.S. withdrawal, in large part because it meant abandoning a crucial ally, the Kurds. But Mr. Trump during a meeting with his Italian counterpart dismissed the criticism, saying the Kurds—a group with which Washington had allied to fight Islamic State—are “not angels.”
The Turkish military operation and subsequent withdrawal of U.S. troops prompted Kurdish fighters to seek help from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of fear they would be targeted by Turkish forces. Russia, which along with Iran backs the Assad regime, has also sent soldiers to the area.
“Syria is protecting the Kurds, that’s good,” Mr. Trump said. “Syria may get help from Russia and that’s fine.…There’s a lot of sand to play with.”
“I wish them all a lot of luck,” he added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who has criticized Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw troops, said the remarks “completely undercut Vice President Pence and Sec. Pompeo’s ability to end the conflict.” He added in a Twitter message: “I fear this is a complete and utter national security disaster in the making and I hope President Trump will adjust his thinking.”
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bipartisan resolution opposing Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops, urging the administration to contain the fallout from Turkey’s incursion. The measure—which passed by a 354-to-60 vote—was the first formal step lawmakers have taken to register their criticism of the pullout.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE and follow link below to a related story:

"Don't Be A Fool ... I Will Call You Later": Trump Warns Turkey's Erdogan Against 'Slaughtering Thousands'

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