WASHINGTON, October 8. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump said he had warned Turkey about the inadmissibility of striking US troops or allies in Syria during Ankara’s planned military operation in northeastern Syria.
"We’ve been in Syria for many years. You know, Syria was supposed to be a short-term hit - just a very short-term hit. And we were supposed to be in and out. That was many, many years ago. And we only have 50 people in that area. That’s a small sector," the US leader said.
"And I don’t want those 50 people hurt or killed or anything. I don’t want anything bad to happen to our people. And I told that to President Erdogan. I said, ‘Don’t hurt any of our - any of our people get hurt, big trouble,’ he continued.
According to Trump, the US has been putting sufficient pressure on Ankara.
"I think there’s a lot of pressure on Turkey. They have been fighting with the PKK for many years. They’re natural enemies," he said. "But I have told Turkey that if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane <…> they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy."
US urges to eliminate Islamic State
The US president once again boasted his country’s role in defeating the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia).
"We defeated ISIS. And when I wanted to - when we were at 96 and 95 and 97%, I sort of said, ‘Let the other countries in the area finish it off’," Trump said.
"And I said to the European countries, ‘You’ve got to take your ISIS…’ You know we have 60,000, maybe even 70,000 people - that includes families, that includes wives of fighters that were killed. <…> And I said to the European countries - I said to all of them, ‘Take the people back.’ And they said, ‘No, no, no. We don’t want to do it. We don’t them back’," he continued.
"So I told President Erdogan, ‘You got to - it’s going to be your responsibility.’ Now, really, who’s responsible - it’s really Russia, it’s Turkey, it’s Iran, it’s Iraq, and it’s Syria, and anybody else in the neighborhood," the US leader went on. "Now, ISIS is the sworn enemy of all of these countries. Many of them they hate far more than they hate us, and those countries hate them at the same level as we do."
"And we’re going to be watching Turkey and we hope that them and all of the other countries - or some of the other countries, including the European Union - goes in and does whatever they’re supposed to do with these captured ISIS fighters and families," Trump said.
Bringing soldiers back
Trump said he consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff when making the decision to withdraw troops from the zone of the Turkish operation in Syria.
"Sure. I consulted with everybody. I always consult with everybody," Trump said, answering to a reporter’s question.
"It’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force," the US leader added. "We’re spending tremendous amounts of money. I can tell you, the two countries that are most disappointed that we’re leaving are China and Russia because they love that we’re bogged down and just watching and spending tremendous amounts of money instead of continuing to build our forces."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 1 that Ankara intended to act on its own to set up a safety zone east of the Euphrates River in Syria, because it failed to attain the intended goals in the course of phone consultations with the US side. On October 6, Erdogan held a phone conversation with Trump, during which the US side said it would not join the planned Turkish military operation in Syria or support it in any way, while US servicemen will be withdrawn from the immediate area of it.
On Monday, the United States, who sided with the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia), started withdrawing their personnel and military hardware from their bases in Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad. The Kurdish side described the move as a breach of guarantees earlier given by Washington to the Kurdish population, and warned that the threat of the Islamic State may grow after the US-led coalition leaves Syria.