Trump threatens to devastate Turkey's economy if it attacks Kurds

Minnie Murray
January 14, 2019

"Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds", he added, while pushing for the creation of a 30km "safe zone".

Mr Trump gave no details as to who would create, enforce or pay for this safe zone. "Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey", he said in a second tweet.

"The withdrawing from northeast Syria in a strong, deliberate and coordinated manner, and seeks to ensure that the forces that have fought alongside coalition partners in the campaign against ISIS are not mistreated", an administration official said following the president's tweet.

"Stop the ENDLESS WARS!" he added.

The withdrawal began with shipments of military equipment, US defense officials said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of militias led by the Kurdish YPG, have driven Islamic State from a swathe of northern and eastern Syria with the help of the USA -led coalition over the last four years.

Turkey's president wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Trump "made the right call".

"We have operated with impressive success in thwarting Iran from establishing a military foothold in Syria, in the framework of which the military has struck hundreds of times against Iranian and Hezbollah targets", Netanyahu said.

Asked about SDF progress, the spokesman for the USA -led coalition, Colonel Sean Ryan, said: "The SDF is making great progress and continues to liberate more territory once held by ISIS (Islamic State), but the fight continues". "They understand that there are squabbles in Washington, but their mission remains, their duties continue and they're executing them".

President Trump shocked allies and faced strong criticism at home last month when he ordered U.S. forces to immediately begin withdrawing from the approximately 30% of Syria controlled by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.

Trump's comments follow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's pledge to take action against the YPG, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization linked to the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) within Turkey.

Turkey on Saturday welcomed the latest statement made by Washington's top diplomat over Ankara's right to defend itself from "terrorists" after the US withdraws from Syria.

Pompeo's remarks follow tensions between the USA and Turkey over the fate of Washington's allies in the fight against ISIS.

"We will protect Kurds and other Syrians against all terrorist threats".

The United Nations said last Friday that overall, some 25,000 people had fled the violence over the last six months as the die-hard extremists battled to defend their dwindling bastions.

Around 2,000 civilians remain trapped in the area around the town of Hajin.

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