Trump says US will hurt Turkey economically if it hits Kurds

President Donald Trump has warned that the United States will “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.

Mr Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of Syria has left the United States’ Kurdish allies vulnerable to an attack from Turkey.

Ankara views the Kurdish forces as terrorists aligned with insurgents inside Turkey.

In a tweet, Mr Trump also warned the Kurdish forces not to “provoke Turkey”.

The US withdrawal has begun with shipments of military equipment, US defence officials said.

But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is expected to depart even as the White House says it will keep pressure on the IS network.

Once the troops are gone, the US will have ended three years of organising, arming, advising and providing air cover for Syrian, Kurdish and Arab fighters in an open-ended campaign devised by the Obama administration to deal the militants, also known as Isis, a lasting defeat.

“Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining Isis territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions,” Mr Trump tweeted. “Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.”

Mr Trump’s decision to leave Syria, which he initially said would be rapid but later slowed down, shocked US allies and angered the Kurds in Syria.

It also prompted the resignation of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and drew criticism in Congress.

Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, called the decision a “betrayal of our Kurdish partners”.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Donald Trump orders new sanctions against Iran’s supreme leader and associates

Mike Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia amid heightened tensions with Iran

Trump stays quiet over whether to ask FBI to probe Khashoggi killing

Iranian general warns US against war, as Trump softens stance

More in this Section

Iran threatens to shoot down more American drones

Death toll from Cambodia building collapse rises

UK could join US in assault on Iran, Jeremy Hunt says

Boris Johnson insists he will not ‘bottle it’ on Brexit date


Capturing the castle: Johnstown Castle in County Wexford is well worth checking out

How nature can work wonders for body and soul

Making Cents: Consumer guide to entering PcP car loan contracts

Podcast Corner: An introduction to podcasts

More From The Irish Examiner