President Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, saying the Kurds, who fought alongside US troops against the Islamic State, are “no angels.”
“All American soldiers are away from the site. Syria and Turkey can fight … They’ve got a lot of sand over there. There’s a lot of sand that they can play with,” Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Speaking of the Kurds, who are under attack by Turkish forces, Trump said, “They are no angels, by the way.”
Trump — who told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call earlier this month that he would move US troops out of northern Syria, giving a green light to the invasion — said the fight is “not our problem.”
“US is not a policing agent. It is time for us to go home,” Trump said.
Trump said the Kurds, who lost about 11,000 fighters while battling ISIS with US troops since 2014, are being aided by Syria and are now safe.
“The Kurds know how to fight. But they fought with us and we paid a lot of money for them to fight with us. They did well when they fought with us. They didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us,” he said.
The Kurds, who called the US decision to pull troops a betrayal, cut a deal with the Russians and Bashar al-Assad to protect them against the Turkish onslaught.
“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 that’s not our border, we shouldn’t be losing lives over it,” Trump said.
The president sent a delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Ankara to meet with Erdogan and seek a cease-fire in Syria.
He’s also leveled sanctions on Turkey’s steel industry and canceled a $100 billion trade deal.
Source: New York Post.