Washington, Oct 16 : President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Turkey’s offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria is “not our problem”.
Trump defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region amid criticism from Republicans, saying he wants to get the U.S. out of “endless wars” while imposing sanctions on Turkey and also sending a delegation to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to broker a ceasefire in the region.
“If Turkey goes into Syria, it is between Turkey and Syria. It’s not our problem,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Downplaying the U.S. alliance with the Kurds, Trump pointed to the business deal between them and said Kurds are “no angels” as U.S. “paid a lot of money” for the Syrian Kurdish forces to fight alongside U.S. troops against ISIS.
“The Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight, and as I said, they’re not angels. They’re not angels. You take a look… but they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us, and that’s OK,” Trump said.
On being asked about Russia trying to bring peace between the concerned parties, Trump said, “If Russia wants to get involved with Syria, that’s really up to them. They have a problem with Turkey. They have a problem at a border. It’s not our border, we shouldn’t be losing lives over it”.
After Trump announced sanctions on Turkey on Monday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump ally who vocally criticized the pullback from northern Syria, has supported Trump’s efforts on sanctions and a potential ceasefire.
Critics have accused Trump of giving an approval to Turkey’s invasion.Turkey has long viewed the Syrian Kurds as a terrorist group.
Vice President Mike Pence is also leading a delegation of U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump’s new national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, to Ankara to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an attempt to broker a ceasefire in the region.
“We’re watching and we’re negotiating and we’re trying to get Turkey to do the right thing,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday.