October 14, 2019 U.S. military troops are preparing to evacuate equipment on Monday in advance of a full withdrawal, as President Trump threatens Turkey with economic sanctions.
Monday’s rapid preparations for exiting Turkey come as President Trump said his national security team is considering “big sanctions” on NATO ally Turkey.
In a statement on Twitter, Trump announced Monday afternoon he will soon issue an executive order authorizing sanctions against current and former Turkish government officials for endangering civilians and threatening peace and security in the region.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after being abandoned by the United States and facing a deepening Turkish incursion struck a deal with the Syrian government. In a statement, the SDF said:
“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government — whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty — for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression” by Turkey.”
Critics of U.S. Military Troop Withdrawal
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Lindsey Graham said Monday they are putting together a bipartisan, bicameral sanctions package that is stronger than what the White House is considering. Senator Graham, a close Trump ally along with several other republican lawmakers have been vocal critics of Trump over the decision to move troops out of northern Syria.
Many national-security experts warned that the Turkish invasion could result in large-scale civilian deaths and human-rights abuses, give ISIS room to regain a footing and undermine years of U.S. efforts to break Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on the country.
Trump Responds to Critics via Twitter
Earlier on Monday, President Trump blasted FOX News and other critics of his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria via Twitter, blaming the Kurds and Europe for the evolving situation. The President tweeted:
“Brian Kilmeade over at @foxandfriends got it all wrong. We are not going into another war between people who have been fighting with each other for 200 years. Europe had a chance to get their ISIS prisoners, but didn’t want the cost. “Let the USA pay,” they said…”
In another Tweet, Trump accused the Kurds of releasing ISIS prisoners to bait the U.S. back into Syria. The allegation contradicts a Foreign Policy report that quotes two U.S. officials as saying Turkish-backed Syrian Arab forces deliberately released ISIS prisoners amid Turkey’s invasion into northern Syria.