Donald Trump had no sooner announced a troop withdrawal from northern Syria when an offensive push by Turkey — in the form of ground troops and airstrikes — was reported.
But according to Fox News, after the Pentagon reported that Turkey had, in fact, fired upon U.S. troops in Syria, Gulnur Aybet, a senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated: “That’s another lie.”
On the Offensive
According to Turkey, its offensive is being undertaken to rid its border of terrorist forces. Those “terrorist forces,” however, are the Kurds, who are backed by the United States.
Even though the United States announced it would be pulling out its troops, Pentagon officials were adamant that an offensive against the Kurds would not be tolerated. Turkey is putting that threat to the test because the offensive reportedly took place immediately after Trump announced the move.
As part of the most recent attack, artillery fire landed near U.S. troop positions. While no troops were hurt or killed, the first was far too close for comfort, warranting a stern rebuke from the Pentagon.
Aybet, however, stated that Turkey’s troops were only “returning fire that was fired at our territory by the terrorists of that region.”
He added: “We were very careful not to fire on the American observation post there.”
“I Told You So”
When Trump made the announcement to withdraw troops from the area, he came under considerable scrutiny by some of his most ardent supporters.
Among those unhappy with the Syria move were Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), both known to be vocal supporters of almost everything Trump does.
The belief held by Republicans not supporting the withdrawal is that removing our troops from the area will embolden ISIS forces, allowing them to once again gain a stronghold in the area. When Turkey launched its offensive, you could almost hear those party members who want troops to remain saying, “I told you so.”
Another reason Republicans did not want to pull the troops back is that they believe Trump is putting an ally in the fight against terrorism out in the cold.
They will undoubtedly point to the 74 Kurdish fighters and 21 civilians that have been killed since the announcement took place as proof that Trump may have made a misstep in pulling back U.S. forces in Syria.