US President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened Turkey with an economic disaster, in case of an attack on the Kurds after the next withdrawal of US troops from Syria, while calling on the Kurds not to “provoke” Ankara.
The United States will “devastate Turkey economically if it attacks the Kurds,” tweeted Donald Trump, who also calls for the creation of a “safe zone” of 30 kilometers, without further details on its location or on its funding.
At the same time, Washington asks the Kurds to “not provoke Turkey”.
These statements come as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tours the Middle East. A visit intended to reassure his allies as tensions rose between the United States and Turkey over the fate of the Kurds of Syria, who fought alongside the United States against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.
Mike Pompeo has sought to reassure the Kurdish allies of the United States, ensuring to ensure their protection despite the withdrawal, announced by Mr. Trump in December, 2000 US troops deployed in Syria to fight IS.
Hailed by Turkey, it has weakened the situation of Kurdish fighters. The main Kurdish militia in Syria, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the fight against IS, is threatened by a possible offensive by Turkey, a country neighboring Syria.
Ankara describes the YPG as “terrorists” for their alleged links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been guerrilla fighting in Turkish territory since 1984.
And it does not hide its intention to launch an offensive against them to avoid the formation, at its doors, of an embryo of Kurdish state likely to revive the separatism of the Turkish Kurds.
Ankara reacted strongly to reports that Trump was considering conditioning the withdrawal of US soldiers to the safety of Kurdish fighters.
On Saturday, more than 600 people were evacuated from the last bastion of ISIS in eastern Syria, according to a monitoring body.
“Begin the long-awaited withdrawal from Syria by striking hard the small territorial caliphate remaining of the IS, from several directions. We will attack again from an existing base if it reformed, “Donald Trump added in his tweets on Sunday.
“Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long-term US policy of destroying the Islamic State group in Syria – natural enemies. We also benefit, but now is the time to get our troops home. STOP the ENDLESS WARS, “he added.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said dozens of jihadist fighters had been evacuated from areas held by the Arab-Kurdish alliance.
He said some 16,000 people, including 760 IS fighters, have fled the area since early December. The United Nations said on their side Friday that 25,000 people have fled the violence of fighting in the past six months.
The war in Syria broke out in 2011 after the regime’s suppression of pro-democracy protests. It has become more complex over the years with the involvement of jihadist groups and foreign powers. The conflict has claimed more than 360,000 lives.