On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump rejected criticism from fellow Republicans over his decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria and canceled concerns that captured Islamic State fighters might escape in the chaos of a Turkish attack.
The sudden move of Trump on Sunday to remove 50 U.S. troops out of northern Syria has sparked criticism from many Republican lawmakers who are normally his strong supporters. The move has allowed Turkey to attack America’s Kurdish allies unimpeded.
On Wednesday, after Turkey launched an attack on Kurdish militia positions, Trump joined himself with anti-war voices in the Republican Party like Senator Rand Paul, saying the US should have never been involved in conflicts in the Middle East in the first place.
During a White House event, President Trump was asked about the situation by reporters and he replied that he was open to imposing sanctions on Turkey of Turks do not treat the Kurds humanely.
He was asked what he will do if Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan were to wipe out the Kurds. Trump replied saying, “I will wipe out his economy if he does that.” The Trump pullout has proposed bipartisan concerns that some of the thousands of Islamic State fighters held by Kurdish-led forces might escape in the chaos surrounding the Turkish incursion.
Trump also claimed that many of them belong to European origin that he had given European nations four chances to take responsibility for them. He was asked about his concerns about some of these ISIS fighters could escape and pose a threat elsewhere to which Trump replied, “Well, they’re going to be escaping to Europe. That’s where they want to go.”
Many Republicans and Democrats have condemned Trump’s move. In a statement, U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, a national security hawk and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said that Trump’s decision would have “sickening and predictable consequences.”
“The U.S. is abandoning our ally the Kurds, who fought ISIS on the ground and helped protect the U.S. homeland. This decision aids America’s adversaries, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and paves the way for a resurgence of ISIS. This action imperils American security and that of our allies. Congress must and will act to limit the catastrophic impact of this decision,” she said.