Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII
President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to defend his decision to withdraw US troops from northeastern Syria, abandoning Kurdish forces in the region, by saying the Kurds did not help the US during World War II.
- "They didn't help us in the Second World War; they didn't help us with Normandy," Trump said of the Kurds, who played a vital role in the US-led campaign against ISIS.
- And when asked by reporters whether he felt the Syria retreat and treatment of the Kurds sent a poor message to other potential US allies, Trump said, "Alliances are very easy."
- Trump's comments came hours after Turkey launched a military operation against the formerly US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.
on Wednesday defended his decision to abandon the Kurds to a Turkish military incursion in Syria by saying they didn't help the US during World War II.
This came amid reports that Turkish ground troops were crossing the border
into Syria after air strikes that began earlier in the day.
"They didn't help us in the Second World War; they didn't help us with Normandy," Trump said of the Kurds. He added, "With all of that being said, we like the Kurds." The Kurdistan region, which stretches across the borders of Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Armenia, is roughly 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) from Normandy, France. The Kurds are a distinct ethnic group — with an estimated population between 25 to 35 million
— that have never had a permanent or official nation state.
The Trump administration on Sunday abruptly announced the US was withdrawing troops stationed in northeastern Syria ahead of a Turkish operation.
The move has been broadly condemned in Washington, including by top congressional Republicans and former Trump administration officials, as many feel Trump paved the way for Turkey to go after key US allies.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) bore the brunt of the US-led campaign against ISIS, losing about 11,000 fighters
in the process.
Ahead of the Trump administration's announcement, Kurdish forces had recently dismantled defensive positions along the Turkey-Syria border under assurances from the US it would not allow a Turkish assault. The SDF described Trump's decision to withdraw troops as a "stab in the back"
and made clear it felt betrayed by the US.