In a major policy shift that abandons nearly a decade of American policy in Syria, the White House announced late Sunday night that US forces in northern Syria would step aside to allow a planned Turkish offensive. The decision follows late-night haggling between President Trump and President Erdogan, who had threatened a "land and air" offensive "as soon as today or tomorrow."
In a last-minute phone call yesterday, Erdogan and Trump agreed to meet in Washington next month to discuss Turkey's uneasiness with Washington and its ability to do what is required according to an agreement between the two countries about security in northeastern Syria.
Instead, a few hours later, the Trump administration released the following statement shortly before midnight. The administration reportedly refused to clarify whether the remaining US troops left in Syria would be withdrawn.
Washington said it would also turn over all captured ISIS fighters to Turkey after their home countries refused to take them back.
"Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by telephone. Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial "Caliphate," will no longer be in the immediate area.
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