US President Donald Trump warned Turkey on Sunday that it would face economic devastation if it attacked the US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria, once the US troops leave Syria, the step which has been announced late in December.
“Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” Trump tweeted. But he did not mention the way or steps of “devastating Turkey economically.”
Trump’s statements outraged Turkey. Turkey’s presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, who responded to Trump on Twitter by saying that his country is waiting for the US to fulfil the commitments of the strategic partnership with Turkey.
“Terrorists can’t be your partners & allies,” Kalin said to Trump. He added that Turkey “fights against terrorists, not Kurds” as a people.
Trump also called upon the Kurdish forces not to “provoke Turkey” saying: “Likewise, [I] do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”
In December, Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria in a surprise for the US’s allies in the international alliance against the Islamic State (IS). The number of US troops in Syria is about 2,000 troops, who are mostly army soldiers and marines.
The US troops in Syria are located in northeast Syria and in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, aiming to eliminate the remaining pockets of IS fighters and secure newly-liberated areas from their return.
“Starting the long overdue pull-out from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS [Islamic State] territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms,” Trump tweeted.
He called for creating a 20 mile safe zone between Turkey and the Syrian borders where the Kurdish forces is located, but he gave no details about who will create or pay for the proposed buffer zone.
Trump claimed that Russia, Iran and Syria [Bashar Al-Assad] have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term US policy of destroying ISIS in Syria – natural enemies. “We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home. Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” he added.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that he spoke to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, about the situation of the Kurdish forces in Syria. He added that he is optimistic of the possibility of reaching a solution with Turkey to protect Kurdish fighters.