Turkish President Erdogan Binned Trump's Letter On Syria

Saturday, 19 Oct, 2019

The meeting comes a day after a USA delegation, led by Vice President Mike Pence, reached an agreement with Turkey for Ankara to pause its military offensive against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria for five days.

Since the US troop withdrawal, the former USA -allied Kurds in northeastern Syria have teamed up with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces and his ally, Russia, which has stepped in as the biggest power player, sending in patrols to the northern part of the country.

If implemented, the deal would achieve all the main objectives Turkey announced when it launched its assault on October 9: control of a strip of Syria more than 30 kilometres deep, with the SDF - once USA allies in the years long fight against Islamic State (ISIS) - obliged to pull out.

While speaking at a rally in Dallas, Trump described his approach to the situation between the Turks and Kurds - a long-simmering conflict that exploded into a military attack after the President gave the green light to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month - as "unconventional".

"President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin", they said.

Late yesterday, the White House leaked a letter written by Donald Trump to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nearly too insanely absurd and juvenile to be believed, threatening Erdogan with phrases like "Don't be a tough guy". Whether the Kurdish fighters pull out of Ras al-Ayn will likely be an early test of the accord.

"Further, the cease-fire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally", he said on the Senate floor.

They would abide by the ceasefire but would defend themselves, he said on Al Arabiya television.

President Trump's letter, dated October 9, read, "Let's work out a good deal!".

Following their withdrawal, Turkey's military operation would be "halted entirely", Pence said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a Politico interview, forcefully defended the agreement, brushed back accusations that the Kurds were sold out and said that despite reports of fighting Friday, he is "confident" a pause in violence will take hold.

Other activists reported a new exodus of civilians from the villages.

Officials have said a number of ISIS fighters, likely just over 100, have escaped custody since Turkey launched its invasion last week.

In a statement Thursday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said Trump shouldn't get credit for trying to fix a problem of his own making.

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said US troops are continuing their withdrawal from northern Syria. But Pence maintained that the USA had obtained "repeated assurances from them that they'll be moving out". Trump has to prevent Ankara from going to Iran or Russian Federation for any more help and alliance than it already is. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Kurdish forces will have to withdraw from an area that is 32 kilometers deep, which is expected to eventually become a "safe zone" that Turkey has sought for months, as part of the US-Turkey deal. That arrangement would largely solidify the position Turkey has gained after days of fighting. This is an enormous area that hundreds of thousands of Kurds have lived in for generations.

Pence and Pompeo are traveling to Turkey to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the hope of brokering a cease-fire. That came two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing American troops from the border area. He did not mention any withdrawal.