WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – U.S. forces are moving out of northern Syria following President Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw.
President Trump said, “Turkey, Syria… Let them take care of it. Let them take care of it. We want to bring our troops back home.”
But the move has sparked strong condemnation, even from some of the president’s strongest supporters.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “We’ve got less than a thousand troops now in Syria. But this impulsive decision by the president has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos.”
For years, U.S. troops have fought in Syria against ISIS, shoulder to shoulder with a key ally: the Kurds.
However, Turkey views Kurds as terrorists, leading to new worries of a Kurdish massacre by Turkey.
Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted, “Leaving the Kurds to die is a big mistake,” and, “Turkey is not our friend.”
President Trump responded, “I’ve told Turkey if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy.”
Another ominous question: what happens to thousands of captured ISIS fighters?
The administration said Turkey will take responsibility, but critics aren’t so sure.
Former Trump special envoy on ISIS Brett McGurk stated, “These fighters in this camp are being guarded by the Syrian Kurds and if the Kurds now have to face an attack from Turkey, they’re gonna pull off that objective.”
There are fears that ISIS fighters could flee the region and take their fight far beyond the Syrian border.
President Trump and the president of Turkey have agreed to meet in Washington next month.