Watch live: Trump speaks on Turkey/Syria agreement

UPI Politics 2 weeks ago

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump will make an announcement regarding Syria and the Kurds Wednesday morning from the White House.

He will speak at 11 a.m. EDT.

Trump claimed victory on Twitter for his handling of the Syrian situation, despite critics who said he betrayed U.S. allies and created a power vacuum that Russia quickly filled.

"Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border. Safe Zone created! Cease-fire has held and combat missions have ended," Trump said. "Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us. Captured ISI prisoners secured."

Earlier this month, Trump announced plans to quickly pull U.S. troops out of Syria after a discussion with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As U.S. convoys pulled out, Turkish forces invaded Syria unilaterally with the plan to drive Kurds out of the border zone.

The controversial offensive killed dozens of civilians and drove 200,000 people from their homes in the region.

Vice President Mike Pence announced last week that Turkey had agreed to a five-day cease-fire, which ended Tuesday. As part of the deal, Turkey will get a 20-mile deep "safe zone" where Kurdish militias are banned. Turkey considers the Kurdish militias to be terrorists.

The Senate and House have considered resolutions condemning the decision.

Trump has said multiple times he pulled U.S. troops out to stop the U.S. involvement in "endless wars."

U.S. forces are withdrawing from Syria and crossing the border into Iraq this week. But Iraqi officials said U.S. troops aren't welcome to stay in the country. The U.S. forces currently stationed in Iraq are in a support and training role.

That prompted Defense Secretary Mark Esper to quickly schedule meetings with his counterparts in Baghdad.

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