Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria is in serious danger of a complete collapse after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to adhere to the terms the White House has set for Turkey.
Trump’s plan requires Turkey to step up its military presence in the region, but the United States does not want Turkey to attack the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia in Syria. American troops have fought alongside the YPG militants in the war and as a result, the White House intends to secure their safety, but Turkey considers the militia a terrorist organization because of its relationship with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that is not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States,” John Bolton, U.S. National Security Adviser, who has been in Turkey to negotiate the terms, told the BBC.
He said the terms are “at a minimum so they don’t endanger our troops, but also so that they meet the president’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered.”
But Turkish President Erdogan didn’t even meet Bolton and has called the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria without consultation a “serious mistake.” Speaking to his AK Party at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Erdogan said that Turkey would continue to treat militants in Syria as terrorists, reports Business Insider.
“If they are terrorists, we will do what is necessary no matter where they come from.
“Bolton has made a serious mistake and whoever thinks like this has also made a mistake. It is not possible for us to make compromises on this point.”
"We cannot accept Bolton's messages given from Israel," said Erdogan, claiming that Bolton made a "serious mistake"… This report also says Erdogan stressed Bolton "probably doesn't know" who the YPG and PYD actually are: https://t.co/NT8R3fRm7i
— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) January 8, 2019
Donald Trump’s sudden announcement to withdraw troops from Syria last month raised a lot of eyebrows, leading to the resignation of his former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Brett McGurk, who was the top U.S. official leading the 79-nation fight against ISIS. Mattis said that he didn’t agree with Trump about withdrawing U.S. troops and openly called out his “impulsiveness” shortly after resigning over the matter. The U.S.-led coalition was also bamboozled by Trump’s decision, saying that his assertion that ISIS had been completely obliterated was far from the truth.
“[The] mission in northeast Syria remains unchanged,” the coalition had said in a statement.
Trump later said that his decision to withdraw U.S. troops was based on his understanding that America could not fight wars for others, and it was time for other countries to step up.
“Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing?… Time for others to finally fight,” Trump had said.