US President Donald Trump in a significant foreign policy initiative has ended sanctions against Turkey , drawing a line under American involvement in “blood-stained” Syria, as Turkish and Russian troops seized territory previously held by US troops and their beleaguered Kurdish allies.
“Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand,” Trump said in a White House speech that formalized the ceding of power in northern Syria to Ankara and increasingly influential Moscow.
In a AFP report, Trump said he was lifting the sanctions because a ceasefire was holding in the area, which Turkey invaded to drive Kurdish military groups from their strongholds.
Trump called the ceasefire, which allowed the Turkish takeover to proceed largely unopposed, a “major breakthrough.” Rejecting accusations that he betrayed the Syrian Kurds — who suffered thousands of casualties fighting alongside US troops against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group — Trump said they were happy.
The president said the Kurdish commander in the country, Mazloum Abdi, had just told him he was “extremely thankful.” Ankara ordered a cross-border operation into Syria on 9 October because it said it wanted to create a security cordon free of Kurdish armed groups that it considers to be terrorists, linked to Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.