Published On: Mon, Oct 7th, 2019

Donald Trump news: US President launches defence of Syria troop withdrawal | World | News

In a surprise move, he announced on Monday his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria. The US President told a news conference that: “We want to bring our troops back home and I got elected on that. I fully understand both sides but I promised to bring our troops home. We’re not a police force.”

But his decision was roundly criticised by Republicans in Congress, including some of his staunchest allies.

They see this as a gross betrayal of the Kurds, who have played a major role in defeating ISIS in Syria and have lost up to 11,000 fighters in the process.

Some Republican congressmen and senators fear that Trump’s decision has given the green light to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan to invade northern Syria to eradicate the Kurds living there.

They believe this will lead to a bloodbath that will destabilise the area and allow ISIS to reassert its influence in the region.

Turkey considers the Kurdish-led alliance in northern Syria a terrorist group, an extension of a Kurdish rebel group fighting in Turkey for an autonomous state.

President Ergodan wants a deep “safe zone”, approximately 20 miles deep along the Syrian side of the border, to be cleared of Kurdish fighters.

His plan is also to resettle there up to two million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.

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One US commander involved in the fight against ISIS said Trump’s decision would allow China and Russia to claim a propaganda victory, by claiming that the US abandons its allies.

This would deter would-be US partners from joining forces with the US in future military campaigns.

Trump, however, robustly defended his policy in a long series of tweets.

He reiterated that ISIS had been defeated and lamented the fact that the US military had become mired in the region.

He tweeted: “The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago.

“We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight.

“When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate.”

Hours after the White House announcement, Kurdish-led forces in Syria reported that American troops had started withdrawing from areas along Turkey’s border

Former US President Barack Obama originally sent a small contingent of US special forces to Syria to fight Islamic State militants in 2015.

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