Trump threatens to devastate Turkey if it hits US-backed Kurdish forces

has threatened to “devastate” economically if the NATO-allied nation attacks US-backed Kurdish forces in following a pullout of American troops from the war-torn country, and also urged the not to “provoke”

Last month, Trump surprised the world by announcing that he is withdrawing 2000 American troops from The pullout began last week.

The US troop withdrawal has left America’s Kurdish allies vulnerable to an attack from views the Kurdish forces as terrorists aligned with insurgents inside

Trump also warned that would hit them hard from nearby military bases if it regains momentum.

“Starting the long overdue pullout from while hitting the little remaining territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms,” the said in a tweet.

“Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Create 20-mile safe zone…. Likewise, do not want the to provoke Turkey,” Trump said in a hard-hitting tweet on Sunday.

Trump’s tweet is a stark threat toward an ally in the region that has partnered with the US in the fight against

Last week, Turkish President hit out at US for saying the US withdrawal was contingent upon Turkey’s pledge not to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria once troops leave.

“Bolton made a serious mistake. If he thinks that way, he is in a big mistake. We will not compromise,” Erdogan said.

The has said that there is no timeline for US troop withdrawal and it would be based on ground realties.

“Russia, and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long-term US policy of destroying ISIS in Syria – natural enemies. We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home. Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” Trump said.

His announcement has come following a visit to the region by Bolton and

“The roughly 2,000 uniformed soldiers that are in are going to be withdrawn. That activity is underway. We’re going to do so in an orderly, deliberate way, a way that protects America’s national security, a way that allows us to continue the important mission that they were on,” Pompeo told in an interview on Sunday.

“The counterterrorism mission, the effort to make sure that the destruction of ISIS is not only complete but that their resurgence is not possible, our efforts to counter the threat from terrorism stemming from the Islamic Republic of those are all real missions. The tactical change we’ve made in the withdrawal of those 2,000 troops is just that, a tactical change,” he said.

Noting that the mission remains the same, Pompeo said Turkish leadership has made it clear that it understands there are people down in Syria that have their rights.

“We also want to make sure that those in Syria aren’t attacking, terrorists aren’t attacking Turkey from Syria. We’re fully engaged,” he said, responding to a question if Turkey has promised the US not to attack the Kurdish allies.

Pompeo argued that there was no danger to American interest even after its withdrawal from Syria.

“The of can project military power from lots of places in the world. The absence of a couple thousand soldiers on the ground in Syria in no way materially diminishes the capacity of the of and our amazing Armed Forces to deliver American power to accomplish our objectives anywhere in the world,” he said.

“That certainly includes in Syria. It certainly includes into Iran, if need be. We still have those tools. American diplomats still have that leverage and that power standing behind them. I am very confident in our military capabilities here in the Middle East,” Pompeo said.

Ground troops first arrived in Syria in autumn 2015 when then-President sent in a small number of special forces to train and advise fighters.

A peaceful uprising against the president of Syria President seven years ago turned into a full-scale civil war. The conflict has left more than 350,000 people dead, devastated cities and drawn in other countries.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 10:45 IST