Trump to give statement on Syria pullout amid bipartisan criticism, hopes for border 'safe zone'

Fox News Politics 1 month ago

President Trump plans to deliver a statement Wednesday morning on Syria, claiming a “big success” even as he faces bipartisan criticism for pulling back U.S. troops.

In a tweet, he previewed an 11 a.m. statement from the White House, touting a “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border and a prior cease-fire worked out between the U.S. and Turkey.

The president was optimistic after the initial 120-hour pause in the Turkish military operation there ended, and as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) withdrew from a stretch of territory in northern Syria.

“Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us,” Trump tweeted. “Captured ISIS prisoners secured.”

What happens next is unclear.

The U.S. withdrawal was followed by Turkish aggression, and Trump faced criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike who blamed him for allowing the violence to go unchecked and leaving Kurdish allies to fend for themselves. Turkey and Russia reached an agreement Tuesday that would transform the map of northeast Syria, installing their forces along the border and filling the void left by the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Ankara last week to work out the cease-fire. Though that period has since lapsed, Pence said there's an opportunity for a permanent cease-fire in the region.

James Jeffrey, a career diplomat who oversees Washington’s role in the global fight against the Islamic State, also told lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he does not believe the troop withdrawal added to Turkey’s decision to invade northern Syria. Jeffrey, however, did concede that if U.S. forces had been told to stand their ground amid a Turkish invasion, Turkey may have thought otherwise about crossing the border.

Following the exit of U.S. troops from the region, Russian military police began patrolling part of the Syrian border Wednesday, following the agreement between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Under the 10-point deal, Russia and Turkey have given Kurdish fighters 150 hours starting at noon Wednesday — meaning, until next Tuesday at 6 p.m. — to withdraw from the border.

Russian and Syrian government forces would move into that area immediately to ensure the Kurdish fighters pull back 20 miles from the border. Then at the end of the 150 hours, Russian-Turkish patrols would begin along a six-mile-wide strip of the border.

The exception would be the region around the town of Qamishli at the far eastern end of the border, which has some of the densest Kurdish population.

Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian newswires, that if the Kurds do not complete their withdrawal by the Tuesday deadline, Turkey would resume their offensive.

“It’s quite obvious that if the Kurdish units don’t withdraw with their weapons then Syrian border guards and Russian military police will have to step back. And the remaining Kurdish units will be steamrolled by the Turkish army," Peskov said.

Fox News’ Melissa Leon, Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link
Read also:
Sputnik International › Opinions › 1 month ago
In proposing to expand foreign influence in northern Syria, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, apparently mixed up the concepts of protection zone and safe zone. Otherwise, a safe zone would be contrary to international law and the...
Al Jazeera › 1 month ago
Moscow says YPG forces withdraw from so-called 'safe zone' but Ankara says they'll verify the pullout by Kurdish forces.
New York Post › 1 month ago
WASHINGTON – The House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution Wednesday rebuking President Trump for his pullout of troops in Syria that paved the way for a Turkish offensive against US Kurdish allies. The House voted 354-60 on a resolution...
The New York Times › 2 months ago
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Monday the planned "safe zone" in northern Syria aims to clear terrorist elements from the border and return refugees safely to Syria within the framework of Syrian territorial integrity.
Reuters › 2 months ago
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Monday the planned "safe zone" in northern Syria aims to clear terrorist elements from the border and return refugees safely to Syria within the framework of Syrian territorial integrity.
The Guardian › 2 months ago
Turkish president tells UN expanded zone could resettle millions of refugees in TurkeyAn expanded “safe zone” in northern Syria could include as many as 3 million people and stretch for 50 miles as far as Raqqa, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip...
Reuters › 1 month ago
U.S. President Donald Trump said he would make a statement on the conflict in Syria later on Wednesday, calling the creation of a safe zone a "big success on the Turkey/Syria Border."
The Hill › 2 months ago
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a key ally of President Trump, doubled down on his criticism of the pullout of U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying Trump is putting the nation and his presidency at risk."I think h...
Sputnik International › 1 month ago
GENEVA (Sputnik) - Russia is hoping that Kurdish militants in Syria will be able to withdraw its forces from the border zone with Turkey on time, Russian special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said on Monday.
Reuters › 1 month ago
Turkey's military will primarily enforce a "safe zone" in northern Syria, according to a joint U.S.-Turkish statement after high-level talks in Ankara at which the sides agreed a temporary ceasefire in a campaign against a Kurdish militia.
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google