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Published On: Wed, Oct 16th, 2019

Kurds ‘no angels and know how to fight,’ Syria conflict between Ankara and Damascus – Trump

There are no more American troops in northern Syria and the conflict there is between Ankara and Damascus now, US President Donald Trump said, adding that Washington’s Kurdish allies are “no angels” and know how to fight.

Answering questions at the White House, during a photo-op with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday, Trump shrugged off the fighting in Syria. 

“That’s between Turkey and Syria. It’s not between Turkey and Syria and the United States,” he said.

“Syria and Turkey can fight … They’ve got a lot of sand over there. There’s a lot of sand that they can play with.” 

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Asked about the Kurdish militias that have been allied with the US against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), Trump said they would be fine because they “know how to fight.”

They are no angels, by the way.

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who was in the Oval Office at the time – will be heading to Turkey shortly, Trump added. They are expected to pressure President Recep Tayyip Erdogan into halting ‘Operation Peace Spring’ launched against the Kurdish-held areas a week ago.

Erdogan said on Wednesday that he would not meet with Pence and Pompeo, only Trump, but a spokesman for the Turkish president clarified several hours later that this was a misunderstanding and that the leader will have a scheduled meeting.

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Trump also threatened that Turkey will feel the full wrath of American sanctions, which would be “devastating” for Ankara’s economy, if the meeting goes down the drain.

Meanwhile, as US troops pulled back and Turkish-backed militants poured into Syria, the Kurds struck an agreement with the Syrian government, whose troops are now deploying to block further Turkish advances, local media have reported.

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Kurds ‘no angels and know how to fight,’ Syria conflict between Ankara and Damascus – Trump