Speaking to reporters in Japan on Saturday, at the end of the G-20 summit, US President Donald Trump made an implicit pledge to protect Syria’s Kurds against Turkish attack.
Asked about Turkey’s impending acquisition of Russia’s S-400 air defense missile system, Trump began his answer by explaining how he had prevented Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from attacking America’s partners in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF.)
Describing Erdogan as “tough,” Trump noted that the Turkish president “has a big problem with the Kurds, as everyone knows.” Erdogan “had a 65,000-man army at [Turkey’s] border [with Syria], and he was going to wipe out the Kurds, who helped us with ISIS.” But “I called him, and I asked him not to do it.”
“And he hasn’t done it,” Trump affirmed. “They were lined up to go out and wipe put the people that we just defeated the ISIS caliphate with,” he continued, “and I said, ‘You can’t do that. You can’t do it.’ And he didn’t do it.”