President Donald Trump announced a lasting ceasefire in the Turkish border region of Syria on Wednesday, emphasizing his committment to withdraw troops from Syria.
“Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries; we’ve done them a great service and we’ve done a great job for all of them, and now we’re getting out,” he said.
The president delivered his statement in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House.
Trump singled out media pundits for suggesting that he deploy troops against Turkey to stop their incursion into Syria.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “They were the ones that got us into the Middle East mess. How many Americans must die in the Middle East in the midst of these ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts.”
Trump spoke after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a deal for the two countries to patrol the newly created “safe zone” on the Syrian border as Kurdish forces left the area during the five-day ceasefire reached by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week.
Trump described the developments as a “better future” for Syria and the Middle East and said he “welcomed” other countries getting involved with security in the region. “Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand,” he said.
A Kurdish Red Crescent official claimed the Turkish offensive that began last week claimed the lives of 500 civilians and displaced 400,000 Kurds.
Trump confirmed that he would remove economic sanctions placed on the regime to slow its military offensive in Syria against the Kurds.
“The sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we’re not happy with,” he said.