Trump makes his first independent decision in Syria

Published 21.12.2018 00:19
Updated 21.12.2018 08:00

U.S. President Donald Trump, who had no idea about local players in Syria before being elected as president, has now finally learned who is a terrorist group and who is not

As the Turkish army is about to kick off a cross-border anti-terror offensive east of the Euphrates, Reuters news agency released an unexpected report which became the new top topic in media. According to Reuters, a U.S. official said the United States has decided to completely withdraw its roughly 2,000 troops from northern Syria.

Later, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) also released an article reporting the same thing: the U.S. is about to leave Syria. According to the WSJ report, U.S. officials have started informing the U.S.' regional partner, the People's Protection Units (YPG), about the recent decision. U.S. President Donald Trump then sent a tweet and confirmed that the plan had leaked to the media. Last week, Trump stated that Daesh had 30 days left until it was eliminated.

In fact, it is not surprising to see such news since the U.S. president was never willing to keep U.S. troops active in Syria. Just a quick search demonstrates that Trump, before being elected as president, had repeatedly said the U.S. has no business in Syria. In other words, he gave clues about his isolationist agenda from the very beginning.

Right after the presidential elections in 2016, Trump gave his first interview on Nov. 12 to the WSJ. He expressed that the U.S. supported Syrian rebels but did not know who they were. Trump had also signaled that he and his team would not follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Barack Obama, the mastermind of the current U.S. policy in Syria; regarding the Syrian crisis he said, "I totally disagree with many people on the Syrian case."

According to Trump, the sole target of the U.S. was to defeat the notorious Daesh but not to cause the U.S. to lose money in the region. He even dared to further say that it would be normal for the U.S. to cooperate with Russians and the Syrian regime at the same time.

So far, Trump, who had no idea about local players in Syria, has now finally learned who is a terrorist group and who is not. If he had paid attention to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's many warnings, it would not have taken so long to learn that the YPG is a non-state armed group linked to the designated terrorist group the PKK.

If this is the case, Trump, for the first time since he came to power in the country, was able to to carry out his own policy in Syria regardless of the Pentagon's directions and orders. The withdrawal decision, if it happens, will therefore be remembered as the day Trump started taking initiatives independently in Syria. In addition, this U.S. move will preempt possible escalated tension between Ankara and Washington.

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