Pompeo: US Stands by Turkey in Idlib Fighting

Pompeo says US condemns 'unjustifiable' Syrian assault on al-Qaeda-held Idlib

Following the Turkish military attacking and killing scores of Syrian military personnel on Monday in northern Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Syria and declared the US “fully supports Turkey’s justified self-defense actions.

Syria invaded multiple al-Qaeda-held towns in Idlib, seizing Maarat al-Numaan and approaching Saraqeb before Turkey sent a military convoy to that town to stop them. When Syria hit some Turkish forces, who were inside the Syrian town, they retaliated by attacking.

Turkey’s President Erdogan has threatened more attacks against Syria, and has warned Russia not to interfere. Though the US hasn’t been nearly as enthusiastic about Turkey’s other invasion of Syria, into Kurdish territory, Pompeo made clear that this Turkish intervention, keeping Saraqeb under al-Qaeda’s control, has America’s full support.

Pompeo further said that the US considers Syria’s attempt to take towns from al-Qaeda “unjustifiable and ruthless assaults.” This is in keeping with US policy throughout the Syrian War to support Islamist groups enough that they don’t lose outright.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.