WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says Turkey will soon invade Northern Syria, casting uncertainty on the fate of the Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. against in a campaign against the Islamic State group.
Press secretary Stephanie Grisham says U.S. troops “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area.”
Grisham says that after a call between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey will take custody of foreign fighters captured in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group who have been held by the Kurdish forces supported by the U.S.
Kurdish forces bore the brunt of the ground campaign against Islamic State militants but are considered terrorists by the Turkish government.
In December, Trump announced he was withdrawing American troops from Syria but was met with widespread condemnation for abandoning Kurdish allies to the Turkish assault. The announcement prompted the resignation in protest of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and a coordinated campaign by then-national security adviser John Bolton to try to protect the Kurds.