US says will step aside ahead of Turkey's Syria operation

Published 07.10.2019 08:17
Updated 07.10.2019 15:09
emFile Photo/em
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The U.S. military will withdraw from northern Syria as Turkey will soon launch a military operation into the area east of Euphrates against the People's Protection Unit (YPG) terror group, White House said Sunday.

In a statement, the White House said Turkey will soon carry out its "long-planned operation" into northern Syria.

"The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS [Daesh] territorial 'Caliphate,' will no longer be in the immediate area," said the statement, using an alternate name for the terror group Daesh.

The U.S. statement added: "Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial 'Caliphate' by the United States."

The U.S. criticized "France, Germany, and other European nations" for not repatriating their citizens detained in northern Syria who had joined Daesh.

"The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer," it added.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said he's held off Turkey's operation against YPG terrorists for almost 3 years, but it is time for the U.S. "to get out of these ridiculous endless wars."

"It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN," he said on Twitter.

Trump noted that the U.S. was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days but stayed there and got deeper into battle with no aim in sight.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said Monday the planned "safe zone" aims to clear terrorist elements from the border and return refugees safely to Syria within the framework of Syrian territorial integrity.

The statement came hours after a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, during which a November meeting was planned, according to Turkish presidential sources.

Erdoğan and Trump exchanged views on bilateral issues as well as the planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River, said Turkey's Communications Directorate.

Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.

Turkish leaders have said the U.S. is not doing enough to establish the safe zone, which could house some 2-3 million Syrians who fled the Syrian civil war since 2011.

Turkey has long championed the idea of terrorist-free safe zones in Syria. It has stressed ridding the area of the terrorist YPG, the PKK's Syrian branch with whom the U.S. has partnered in its fight against Daesh, as well as resettling Syrian migrants currently sheltered in Turkey.

Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.

In its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

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