Former defense secretary: “The Islamic State is going to come back”
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday a ceasefire in northern Syria is now permanent and lifted sanctions on Turkey as a result, rejecting criticism of his decision to pull out US troops that allowed Kurdish allies to come under attack.
In a White House speech, Trump described the truce as a “major breakthrough” negotiated by a team led by Vice President Mike Pence. Trump said he instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to rescind sanctions imposed on Turkey after it attacked the Kurds “unless something happens that we are not happy with.”
“Countless lives are now being saved as a result of our negotiation with Turkey, an outcome reached without spilling one drop of American blood: no injuries, nobody shot, nobody killed,” Trump said.
He said he may meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdğoan soon.
The speech failed to blunt attacks from US lawmakers over Trump’s abrupt decision early this month to withdraw troops out of northeastern Syria to clear the way for the Turkish incursion. Congress was still working on a sanctions package of its own to punish Turkey for its cross-border offensive.
Kurdish allies who helped the United States in its war against ISIS militants felt abandoned by Trump, whose policy created an opening that Russia has capitalized on by moving forces into the area. The fate of ISIS militants in Syrian Kurdish prisons also remained up in the air.
The World’s Marco Werman spoke with former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who served from 2015 to 2017 in the Obama administration, about Trump’s recent troop decisions in Syria.
“My heart went out to our guys,” Carter said. “It’s a terrible thing to put them in this position. This was an incomprehensible surrender of our position and of the people who helped us win. And, you know, if you don’t want to be in endless wars, don’t lose the wars you’ve already won.”
On Wednesday, Trump gave a speech about the situation in Syria. “We’ve secured the oil and therefore, a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil and we’re going to be protecting it and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future,” he said.