Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn’t help the US in WWII
President Donald Trump 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.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump said in a statement released by the White House that he did not endorse the Turkish military operation and thought it was a “bad idea.” But he did not refer directly to the Kurds or signal any immediate response from the US to thwart Turkey’s actions.
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.