November 19, 2019, 23:35

Trump, claiming ‘big success’ in Syria, to make White House statement

Trump, claiming ‘big success’ in Syria, to make White House statement

President Donald Trump, facing harsh criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for his abrupt decisions on Syria, announced on Twitter Wednesday morning that he will make a statement at the White House at 11 a.m.

(MORE: GOP senators critical of President Trump over Ukraine dealings, Syria )

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In his tweet, the president touted “big success” on the Turkish-Syria border, heralding that a safe zone has been created and that the ceasefire has held.

(MORE: Turkey announces new deal with Russia as US says its Syria ceasefire has succeeded)

“Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border. Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us. Captured ISIS prisoners secured. I will be making a statement at 11:00 A.M. from the White House. Thank you!” Trump tweeted.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct. 21, 2019.

(MORE: Who’s fighting in Syria and what the US withdrawal means: What you need to know)

The president’s tweet comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced they had reached a separate deal on how to divide up and control northeastern Syria — from which U.S. forces recently withdrew.

Azad Lashkari/Reuters

A convoy of U.S. vehicles are seen withdrawing from northern Syria, in Erbil, Iraq, Oct. 21, 2019.

(MORE: Turkey announces new deal with Russia as US says its Syria ceasefire has succeeded )

The deal came just before the U.S.-Turkish halt in hostilities reached its deadline, with a senior Trump administration official touting it as “one of the best ceasefires I’ve ever seen.”

But as the remaining 1,000 U.S. troops withdraw from northeast Syria at President Donald Trump’s command, critics have blasted Trump and his administration for ceding this territory to Turkey, Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has overseen a brutal war against his own people, and giving up leverage to accomplish U.S. goals in the region, including ensuring the defeat of the Islamic State and expelling Iranian forces from Syria that threaten U.S. allies, especially Israel.

After the announcement, the U.S. special envoy for Syria told the Senate Tuesday that Putin took “a page from what we have done” and came up with a “similar ceasefire in many regards for the rest of northeast Syria, except the Turks got even less” — meaning Russia got more out of its negotiations with Turkey than the U.S. team.

The deal between Erdogan and Putin calls for Syrian Kurdish forces and their weapons to be removed from a buffer zone the length of the border in northeastern Syria — an expansive area where these forces live now that extends 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in from the border. Turkey would maintain control of the portion it now has, thanks to its agreement with the U.S., while Assad’s forces, backed by Russia, would secure the rest of it.


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