Trump Says US Won’t Get Involved in Fighting Between Turkey and Syria

October 16, 2019 Updated: October 16, 2019

President Donald Trump said that whatever happens between Turkey and Syria is between those countries and doesn’t involve the United States.

Trump, speaking in the Oval Office on Oct. 16, said there were no American soldiers left in northern Syria about one week after he announced the withdrawal of American forces as part of an attempt to end what he calls “endless wars.”

Responding to criticism that America is leaving behind the Kurds, who helped the United States demolish ISIS, Trump said he thinks the Kurds will be fine.

“Syria and Turkey may fight. Syria is friendly with the Kurds. The Kurds are very well protected, plus they know how to fight, And by the way, they’re no angels, but they were with us,” he said.

Syrian government forces raise a national flag and an image of President Bashar al-Assad at Tabqa air base in norther Syria’s Raqa region on Oct.16, 2019. (AFP via Getty Images)

“Syria is either negotiating with or talking to Turkey. We’re also talking to Turkey. We put massive sanctions on Turkey. Sanctions work, frankly, better than fighting, certainly when you’re down to 28 people. We’re not going to be fighting, we don’t want to fight anyway, I don’t think there’s any reason to, from the United States’ standpoint,” he added.

“Now as to Syria wanting to take back their land, that’s a whole different story. If Syria wants to fight for the land, that’s up to Turkey and Syria, as it has been for hundreds of years they’ve been fighting, and the Kurds have been fighting for hundreds of years. That whole mess, it’s been going on for a long time.”

Trump reiterated his view that the fighting in the region does not involve the United States.

TV journalists talk during a live broadcast on a hilltop in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, as in the background smoke billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, during bombardment by Turkish forces on Oct. 16, 2019. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo)

“That’s between Turkey and Syria. It’s not between Turkey and Syria and the United States,” he said. He said the region is “possibly never going to be very stable.”

In general, the commander-in-chief asserted that the United States military is spread too thin.

“We’re in 90 counties all over the world policing,” he said. He hopes to fix that, saying reform efforts will save lives and money.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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