US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened NATO ally Turkey with totally obliterating its economy if it went “off limits” on Syria, hours after the White House announced the withdrawal of the US troops from Syria’s northern border.
The US move effectively abandons the Kurds, who were America’s main ally in the fight against the ISIS. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that the long-threatened offensive against separatists’ Kurdish militia could come any time.
“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” Trump tweeted on Monday.
“They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families,” he said after the White House announced that Turkish forces will soon be launching military operations in Northern Syria and American troops would withdraw from the region.
Trump’s move to pull out US troops from Syria’s northern border has been slammed by even his traditional national security and foreign policy supporters like Indian-American Nikki Haley.
Trump defended his decision saying that the United States has done its part and now it is the time for other regional players to play their part.
“The US has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!? Trump said in another tweet.
Senators Chris Van Hollen and Lindsay Graham announced to introduce a bipartisan sanction against Turkey if they invade Syria. The legislation, the two Senators said, will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.
Graham said he feels very bad for the Americans and allies who have sacrificed to destroy the ISIS Caliphate because this decision virtually reassures the reemergence of ISIS. “So sad. So dangerous. President Trump may be tired of fighting radical Islam. They are NOT tired of fighting us,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said that it does not endorse a Turkish operation in northern Syria and asserted that Turkey would be responsible, along with European nations and others, for thousands of ISIS fighters who had been captured and defeated in the campaign lead by the US.
“The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey - as did the President - that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria. The US Armed Forces will not support, or be involved in any such operation,” Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman said.
In conversations between the Department and the Turkish military, he said, the Pentagon has consistently stressed that coordination and cooperation were the best path toward security in the area.
Both the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reiterated to their respective Turkish counterparts that unilateral action creates risks for Turkey, Hoffman said.
“As the President has stated, Turkey would be responsible, along with European nations and others, for thousands of ISIS fighters who had been captured and defeated in the campaign lead by the United States, he said.
“We will work with our other NATO allies and Coalition partners to reiterate to Turkey the possible destabilizing consequences of potential actions to Turkey, the region, and beyond,” Hoffman said in a statement.