US Pulls Out Troops From Northern Syria As Turkey Readies Offensive

Erdoğan and Trump on October 6 exchanged views on bilateral issues as well as the planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria in a phone call, according to a statement from Turkey's Directorate of Communications.

"They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families", he said after the White House announced that Turkish forces will soon be launching military operations in Northern Syria and American troops would withdraw from the region.

Despite the threat posed by IS, Turkey condemned the United States for supporting the YPG.

"I held off this fight for nearly 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home", he wrote.

In the first Turkish comment following the statement, Mr Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey's "safe zone" plan was within the framework of Syria's territorial integrity.

Syria's Kurds warned on Monday a Turkish military invasion would spark a major ISIL resurgence and vowed to battle Turkey's military.

Syria's Kurdish fighters said the decision from Washington to stand aside, coming late Sunday will overturn their years of achievement fighting ISIS, and Graham Monday predicted the Kurds will end up aligning with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad "because they have nobody to count on because we abandoned them".

The White House said in its Sunday statement that France, Germany and other European nations have refused to take back their nationals, and that the United States will not be holding them.

The Kurdish fighters, part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), accused Washington of reneging on an ally, warning it would have a "great negative" impact on the war against the militants.

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Mr Trump's surprise move - described by the main Kurdish-led group as a "stab in the back" - goes against the advice of senior officials in the Pentagon and state department.

"The gang that never met a war they didn't want to fight (and fail to win) will be outraged".

Mr Erdogan said on Saturday a military incursion into northeastern Syria was imminent, after Turkey accused the United States of stalling efforts to establish a "safe zone" there together.

Graham said that he consulted with Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, and would introduce bipartisan legislation to sanction Turkey if it attacks Syria - and call for Ankara's suspension from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

"We've made our preparations, completed our operation plans, given the necessary instructions", Erdogan said during a televised speech, adding that the offensive could start "as soon as today, tomorrow".

It will allow the Turkish military to launch an operation there against a Kurdish-led militia alliance that Western powers relied on to defeat the Islamic State (IS) group.

Speaking about Turkey's reported plans to invade northern Syria, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said USA troops "will not support or be involved in the operation" and "will no longer be in the immediate area".

United States forces "will not support or be involved in the [Turkish] operation" and "will no longer be in the immediate area", White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Kurdish fighters have, in the past eight years, proved to be the West's most dependable allies in the wars against Syria's genocidal regime and against Islamist radicals. "Those two tweets will one day be in a glass case at a museum celebrating the most stupid things ever said", one poster quipped.

  • Darren Santiago