In response, Ankara compared Kurdish people’s self-defense units to militants. &# 171; Islamic State&# 187;
US President Donald Trump has warned Turkey that it will face economic devastation if it strikes the Kurds after the US withdraws its troops from Syria.
“Likewise, we do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey,” Trump tweeted Sunday evening. Without going into details, he wrote: “Create a 20-mile (32 kilometers) security zone.”.
“Russia, Iran and Syria are the largest beneficiaries of the long-term American policy to destroy the Islamic State in Syria – they are their natural enemies,” he wrote..
Kurdish People’s Self-Defense Forces were among the closest US allies in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria.
Turkey claims the units are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is waging a long-term insurgency to expand Kurdish autonomy in Turkey..
Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist group and there are fears that Turkey will attack Kurdish fighters in Syria when US troops withdraw.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin responded to Trump on Monday, comparing the People’s Defense Forces to Islamic State militants.
“Mr. Donald Trump, terrorists cannot be your partners and allies,” he tweeted. – Turkey expects the United States to respect our strategic partnership and does not want to be overshadowed by terrorist propaganda. There is no difference between Daesh (Islamic State), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Democratic Union Party and the People’s Self-Defense Forces. We will continue to fight against all of them “.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday expressed “optimism” that the Syrian Kurds would not be abandoned. He also expressed confidence that the United States and Turkey will be able to work out an agreement that guarantees the security of the Kurds..
Kurds seek protection from a possible Turkish attack, and Syrian Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Susan told reporters on Sunday that his government would like to have an intensive dialogue with the Kurds..
“Many Kurdish statements regarding their concerns about the unity of Syria have been positive,” he said..
Kurdish officials say they would like Russia to mediate any negotiations with the Syrian government.
Why Turkey is attacking Kurd forces in Syria, explained
Trump tweeted Sunday that the “long overdue” US withdrawal from Syria has begun “while delivering hard blows against the small remnants of the Islamic State’s territorial caliphate in many directions.”.
However, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense denied reports of the withdrawal of troops from Syria, telling the Voice of America that the first stages of the withdrawal include the transfer of “equipment, not military personnel.”.
In December, Trump unexpectedly announced that American troops would leave Syria, causing confusion and alarm among American allies. The White House hinted that the withdrawal could be completed within 30 days.
Thereafter, National Security Adviser John Bolton said there was no timeframe for the withdrawal..
News Service &# 171; Voices of America&# 187;