Donald Trump, according to a CNN investigative report published on Sunday, made his announcement that he would order a full withdrawal of the United States military forces from Syria after a phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan, in which the Turkish strongman repeatedly peppered Trump with what he said were reasons the U.S. troops should leave, prompting Trump to simply declare, “OK, it’s all yours. We are done.”
While Erdogan reportedly promised Trump that Turkish troops would “finish off” the ISIS fighters in the region, in fact, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Erdogan’s true motivation was his desire to attack and subjugate the Kurdish population near the Turkish-Syrian border. The Kurds there have been staunch U.S. allies in the war against ISIS and have scored many of the most significant battlefield victories against the terror group that had attempted to establish its own Islamic “caliphate” within Syria.
Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey will soon launch a major military operation against the Kurds, who have declared their own autonomous state, according to the Middle East Eye news site. With U.S. troops in the region, the planned Turkish operation would have put Turkish and American forces, who are NATO allies, against each other.
So why did Trump accede to Erdogan’s demands for a U.S. pullout from Syria? The reasons remain unclear, but four months before Trump made his sudden decision, a major political party in Syria called for Erdogan’s government to seize the twin Trump Towers Istanbul skyscrapers, according to a report by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.