Turkey dismisses Trump threat to economy over Syrian Kurds

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Syria war On the frontline with US troops fighting IS
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Syria war On the frontline with US troops fighting IS

15 January, 2019

US President Donald Trump last month announced he would withdraw US forces from Syria, declaring they had succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State and were no longer needed.

Trump also commented on Twitter to the Kurds, asking them not to "provoke" Turkey.

USA secretary of state, who is on a whirlwind regional tour, also sought to reassure Washington's Kurdish allies, who fear the pullout would allow Turkey to attack them.

Ankara has been infuriated by US support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG, under the pretext of fighting against Daesh.

Trump's incendiary tweets regularly grab headlines - but they're typically directed at long-time United States nemeses such as Iran or North Korea.

The war between President Bashar al-Assad (backed by Russian Federation and Iran) and Syrian rebels has been raging since 2011, but American forces first arrived in the country in 2014, after a former branch of Al Qaeda calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) broke away and turned against other opposition groups. But at a "bare minimum, the U.S. Air Force would have to reinforce the current deconfliction line along the Euphrates River.and commit to keeping Turkey out of Northeast Syria".

Although the United States government provided funds to Syrian rebels for their fight against the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, it was cut in 2015 after the USA government was said to have spent $500m on the programme and had only supplied a few dozen fighters, according to The New York Times.

Since Trump's December 19 withdrawal announcement, Turkey has renewed threats to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units), the main fighting force within the USA -backed SDF.

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"It is an unbelievable statement and one that we can't really imagine having heard from any other president of the United States, particularly put in those terms". He also insisted that Turkey "fights against terrorists, not Kurds" as a people.

"We also know that those fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected as well", he added.

"President Macron spoke to him (Trump) several times and it seems that there has been a change that I think is positive", he said in a television interview on Thursday.

"Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term USA policy of destroying ISIS in Syria - natural enemies", Trump continued.

US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, Belgium on July 11, 2018.

Kurdish-led groups who control swathes of northern Syria fear an attack from Turkey in the wake of US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from their region. "The absence of a couple thousand soldiers on the ground in Syria in no way materially diminishes the capacity of the United States of America and our unbelievable Armed Forces to deliver American power to accomplish our objectives anywhere in the world", he said.

Turkey has consistently attacked positions belonging to the YPG, most recently near the town of Kobani in northern Syria.

The While House said in a statement that Trump had warned Erdogan against harming Kurdish military units. October 5th 2016 - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu holds a press conference.

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