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US withdraws troops from northeast Syria as Turkey readies offensive

Anindita Ramaswamy and Weedah Hamzah, DPA on

Published in News & Features

The White House made clear that U.S. armed forces "will not support or be involved" in the Turkish operation, and its troops would "no longer be in the immediate area."

Trump said Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will have to figure out what to do with captured Islamic State fighters. He took aim at Europe for refusing to repatriate Islamic State detainees from their countries, thinking that "the U.S. is always the sucker."

The SDF said Islamic State leaders are still hiding out in the region and their cells will break out 12,000 of their militants from prisons and free their families being held in camps.

Erdogan said the number of captured militants was a bit exaggerated.

Al-Hol camp, about 30 miles east of the city of al-Hasakah, is one of the largest camps in northern and eastern Syria.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said the al-Hol camp population is close to 70,000, most of them families of Islamic State fighters.

 

Trump ally Republican Senator Lindsey Graham slammed the president's "impulsive" decision, telling Fox News: "I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey's military and their economy if they step one foot into Syria."

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