According to US defense officials familiar with the situation, President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria was made following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
This talk came following Erdogan’s threat last week to invade Kurdish eastern Syria, where US forces are deployed. Officials say that Erdogan essentially warned the US forces to “get out of the way” of the invasion.
US officials had been warning Erdogan against the invasion before that call. Immediately following the call, Erdogan claimed to have been given Trump’s blessing to go ahead with the invasion. It’s not clear, but the implication seems to be that Trump has agreed to get out of the way.
Other reports indicate that there have been debates of US policy in Syria, with respect to Turkey, for awhile, with some arguing that the US alliance with the Syrian Kurds was always temporary, and that the US alliance with Turkey is a long-term priority.
Now, it seems the US is trying to finish withdrawing from Syria before Turkey gets there, while Turkey’s Defense Ministry says that they are “intensely preparing” for the invasion, which they view as a “counter-terror” operation against the Kurdish YPG.
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