By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Earlier today, President Trump minced no words in laying a groundwork for his expectations on the terms of withdrawal for U.S. Forces in the Syrian Theater.
While he mentioned he did not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey, the message directed at Turkey’s government was plain: “…[We] Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.
The full message of President Trump via twitter:
Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….
….Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey. Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term U.S. policy of destroying ISIS in Syria – natural enemies. We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home. Stop the ENDLESS WARS!
Certainly the Turks were just as much the intended audience as it was the American Public and various other interested parties. On January the Eighth, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly rebuffed efforts by U.S. National Security Advisor Mr. John Bolton to negotiate for assurances of protection of the Kurds and their anti-jihadist militias operating in Syria after the U.S. exits the conflict. AP News reports
“John Bolton has made a very serious mistake. We cannot make any concessions in this regard,” Erdogan said Tuesday, just before Bolton left the country with tensions between the NATO allies at new highs. He added that Ankara’s preparations for a new military offensive against what the Turkish leader describes as terror groups in Syria are “to a large extent” complete…But Erdogan, for his part, said Bolton had “made a very serious mistake. Whoever thinks this way is also mistaken. We cannot make any concession in this regard and those involved in a terror corridor” in Syria would “receive the necessary punishment”… Turkey insists its military actions are aimed at Kurdish fighters in Syria — the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, or YPG — whom it regards as terrorists, and not against the Kurdish people. That has been Ankara longtime position and Turkey has rejected any role for Kurdish fighters in restoring peace to the war-torn region…..”
As I previously mentioned in another article. Turkey has in the past several weeks deployed additional materiel and troops to its Southern border near territory held by Kurdish militias, in some areas U.S. forces began patrolling buffer-zones between the factions. In other areas such as those in the vicinity of the city of Al-Arima a joint base staffed by a conglomeration of Russian Military Police, Syrian Arab Army, and local militias serves as a point of operation for patrol operations to keep the hostilities between the Kurds and the Turkish military in that area, serving at least in appearances to be part of the buffer that President Trump proposes. Fortanga reports a new battalion of Russian military police is to disembark from Ingushetia for Syria.
While this announcement certainly is going to prove a hard pill to swallow for President Erdogan, he really might want to take such statements of President Trump to heart.
The war fought against ISIS by the Kurds took a terrible toll on their society and lands. The Kurdish People deserve a peace brought through a hard-won victory. There is no good in allowing peace to slip away by perpetuating hostilities to keep up appearances.
By Darren Smith
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