Turkey’s offensive aimed at driving Kurds it calls “terrorists” from northeastern Syria has entered its fifth day. The assault has raised fears that the “Islamic State” could regroup in the region.
‘An island of one’
Trump has faced strong bipartisan criticism for withdrawing some US troops from the region ahead of the Turkish assault, a move many see as leaving Kurdish militia in the lurch after they aided Washington in fighting the extremist group “Islamic State” (IS).
The US president again defended the withdrawal on Saturday while calling himself an “island of one” in having taken the decision.
Trump told a meeting of conservative activists that the US could not take part in “endless wars.”
“We have to bring our great heroes, our great soldiers, we have to bring them home. It’s time, it’s time,” he told the Values Voters Summit.
He described the Middle East as an arena of permanent conflict where the US could do little to help, despite years of giving military and financial aid.
“It’s less safe now. It’s less secure, less stable and they fight,” he said. “That’s what they do. They fight,” he said.
In another development on Sunday, Syrian Kurds said nearly 800 individuals affiliated with IS escaped a camp where they were being held after shelling by Turkey.
Critics of the Turkish offensive have argued the action could cause IS, which has been largely defeated, to regroup and regain strength.