President Donald Trump defended his decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, and said the Kurds are “no angels.”
“If Turkey goes into Syria, it is between Turkey and Syria. It’s not our problem,” Trump said to reporters Wednesday while meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in the Oval Office. “The Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight, and as I said, they’re not angels. They’re not angels. You take a look… but they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us, and that’s OK.” (RELATED: Turkey Launches Ground And Air Assault Against Kurdish Fighters, Killing At Least Seven)
“They’ve got a lot of sand over there,” Trump said. “So there’s a lot of sand that they can play with.”
President @realDonaldTrump in the Oval Office:
“I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be for the United States strategically brilliant. Our soldiers are out of there. Our soldiers are totally safe.” pic.twitter.com/HLXuL6WLnK
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 16, 2019
“If Russia wants to get involved with Syria, that’s really up to them. They have a problem with Turkey. They have a problem at a border. It’s not our border, we shouldn’t be losing lives over it,” he continued.
The president has faced criticism from fellow Republican lawmakers over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the northern Syrian border.
“I don’t believe it is a good idea to outsource the fight against ISIS to Russia, Iran, and Turkey. They don’t have America’s best interests at heart. The most probable outcome of this impulsive decision is to ensure Iran’s domination of Syria,” said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.
Turkish Armed Forces launched an air and ground assault against Kurdish positions in Syria last week after U.S. troops were removed.
“We’re watching and we’re negotiating and we’re trying to get Turkey to do the right thing,” Trump said to reporters.