US would "devastate Turkey economically" if it hits Syrian Kurds: Trump
US President Donald Trump said that America would "devastate Turkey economically" if the NATO-allied country attacks Kurds in the region. "Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining IS (Islamic State) territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms," the President tweeted on Sunday. "Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds," but followed up in a second tweet, "Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey."
Turkey views some Kurdish groups in the region as terrorist organisations and Kurds make up the majority of US-allied fighters operating in Syria in the civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, CNN reported. It's a stark threat toward an ally in the region that has partnered with the US in the fight against the IS.
CNN reported on Thursday that the first US military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly lashed out at US National Security Adviser John Bolton for saying the US withdrawal was contingent upon Ankara's pledge not to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria once troops leave.
(With inputs from agencies.)