US President Donald Trump has again denied the allegation that he had abandoned the Kurdish Kurds by withdrawing US troops from northern Syria. The Kurdish militias had fought only out of self-interest against the IS and wanted only "own territory" for itself, said Trump. Moreover, the Kurds did not help the United States in Normandy during the Second World War.
The US began pulling soldiers from the northern Syrian border region on Monday. This enabled the Turkish military offensive, which began on Wednesday. For the decision, Trump is criticized by both Republicans and Democrats. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham accused the president of "shamelessly abandoning the Kurdish Allies." Graham warned Trump's actions would lead to a strengthening of the IS.
Trump justified himself in saying he had always made it clear that he "does not want to fight these endless, pointless wars - especially those that do not benefit the United States." US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also defended the withdrawal. The president did not give Turkey a "green light", but provided for the safety of American soldiers.
Reports of dead civilians
According to human rights organizations, at least ten people, including several civilians, were killed during the first hours of the Turkish offensive. Many are on the run. A spokesman for the Kurdish militia Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spoke of a "great panic" in the region.
The military offensive of Turkey is criticized internationally. The member states of the EU have called on Turkey to abort in a joint declaration. "Renewed armed conflict in the north-east will further undermine stability throughout the region, worsen the suffering of civilians and provoke additional displacement," the statement said. Turkey endangers the success of the international coalition against IS. The Security Council wants to talk behind closed doors on Thursday about the Turkish offensive, as UN diplomatic circles said.
Trump said he did not support the attack. He threatened the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with economic consequences, should this in Syria not "as human as possible" proceed. Turkey has pledged to protect civilians and religious minorities, and it wants to measure Turkey. Asked by a reporter if he was worried that Erdoğan might "wipe out" the Kurds, Trump said, "If that happens, I will wipe out his economy."
Democratic and Republican senators of the US Congress meanwhile prepare a bipartisan resolution for sanctions against Turkey. So they want to stop US arms sales to the country, announced the Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen. In addition, he talks with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham about punishing other countries that sell weapons to Turkey. In addition, the senators want Erdoğan personally sanctioned.