The Trump administration announced today that Vice President Mike Pence has hammered out an agreement with Turkey for a “ceasefire” in Syria, where Turkish forces have been slaughtering America’s Kurdish allies after President Trump decided to reposition American troops on a whim, giving Turkey a direct corridor through which to launch a brutal invasion.
Pence stated that Turkey has agreed to suspend military operations for five days, during which time Kurdish troops will be given time to pull back to a so-called safe zone. The United States has agreed to call off new sanctions against Turkey in return. In other words, President Erdogan will get just about everything he hoped for from this military campaign.
Turkey has stated that the cessation of fighting is not an official ceasefire. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting off the Turks says that while they’ve agreed to a ceasefire, they will not be meeting the Turks’ demands for a full withdraw. They can hardly be blamed for being unwilling to abandon the homes they and their kin have struggled and died to protect. As is always the case with Trump’s international announcements, chaos and confusion rule.
While the White House is trying to tout this as some massive diplomatic victory, it’s imperative that they be given no credit for fixing a completely avoidable bloody mess that would never have happened had Trump simply kept American forces in place. This is Trump 101: create a problem so that he can paint himself as a hero for “solving” it. Meanwhile, innocent people and the Kurds who fought and bled with us have been murdered and displaced en masse.
It wasn’t enough for Trump to betray the Kurds though, he had to defend his evil actions by smearing our valiant allies. Since igniting this bloodshed, he’s handwaved away his responsibility in the conflict by saying it’s been going on for hundreds of years and even stated that the Kurds are “no angels,” implying that they deserve what Erdogan has unleashed on them.
Earlier today, Trump spoke to reporters about the tragic situation in Syria. After rambling in his headache-inducing trademark fashion for a bit, he thanked Turkey for agreeing to momentarily suspend fighting, which is a bit like thanking an ax murderer for taking a break from swinging after the walls are already coated in blood.
The president went on to say Turkey has had a “legitimate problem” in the region for years with “a lot of people in there that they couldn’t have.”
“They had to have it cleaned out,” Trump said. Not only is he whitewashing the ruthless actions of the Turkish government in Northeast Syria, but his language choice brushes up against advocacy for genocide. “Cleaned out” is only a heartbeat away from “ethnic cleansing,” which many observers fear is what Turkey is ultimately pursuing against the Kurds.
This is a vile statement from the American president and yet another reminder that he will always stand with the autocrats and mass murders of the world against those who yearn and fight for freedom.
Referring to Kurds living along Turkish border in Syria, Trump says of Turkey, "they had to have it cleaned out." pic.twitter.com/W8J7IFctO3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 17, 2019
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.