Trump Sought Assurances From Erdogan About Fate of Syrian Kurds

Wanted Erdogan to promise invasion wouldn't lead to a humanitarian crisis

After announcing the US withdrawal from Syria in the wake of a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Trump held a second call days later seeking assurances from Erdogan about what would happen to the Syrian Kurdish territory Turkey is about to invade.

Trump told Erdogan he was “under pressure,” and needed a pledge from Erdogan that the Turkish invasion wouldn’t lead to a humanitarian crisis or destabilize the region. Exactly how this result was envisioned is unclear.

Erdogan’s pledges weren’t super reassuring either, as he only told Trump he had no quarrel with Syrian Kurds per se, and reiterated his position that the Kurdish YPG are terrorists that need to be confronted militarily.

Yet the YPG is also the de facto regional government of Rojava, the Syrian Kurdish territory, and invading that region, encompassing one third of Syria, and destroying that faction through force of arms, can be expected to both destabilize the region and cause a big humanitarian crisis.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of