In an interview with the BBC, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal said that the withdrawal of US troops from the Syrian Arab Republic would lead to the deterioration of the situation in the Mideast country.
“The US actions from my perspective is [sic] that it is going to further complicate the issue, rather [than] find any solutions to it, and further entrench not only the Iranians but also the Russians and Bashar al-Assad. So from that perspective, of course, it is a very negative development”.
Prince Faisal further added that the resignation of US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, supposedly triggered by President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out the troops, was unlikely to help the situation.
“Obviously, he disagreed with the administration on Syria policy, so in that context his remaining would have been a more positive sign of commitment to that policy”.
Trump Announces Troop Pullout
Last month, Trump declared victory over Daesh* in Syria, subsequently announcing the withdrawal of 2,000 US troops currently deployed in the Mideast country. The president elaborated that Turkey had pledged to wipe out the remaining terrorists.
Trump Announces Beginning of ‘Long Overdue Pullout’ of US Troops from Syria
At the same time, he said that he wanted to protect US-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria while gradually pulling the troops out of the country.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that Ankara’s consent to protect the Kurdish militia was a condition for the US withdrawal, which has become a major stumbling block in relations between the two NATO allies.
In a recent tweet, POTUS wrote that it was time to stop “the endless wars” and bring US troops back home. Trump also threatened to “devastate” Turkey economically if Ankara attacked US-allied Kurds in Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin also took to Twitter to respond to Trump’s warning:
“It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], which is on the US terrorist list, and its Syrian branch PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party]/YPG [Kurdish People’s Protection Units]. Turkey fights against terrorists, nor Kurds. We will protect Kurds and other Syrians against all terrorist threats”, Kalin said.
Ankara considers the YPG to be affiliated with the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey.
Since 2014, the US-led coalition has conducted operations against Daesh in Syria without either a UN mandate or Damascus’s authorisation. The Syrian government has consistently dismissed Washington’s military presence in the country as illegal.