Oct 18, 2019

Pompeo defends Turkey negotiations amid claims U.S. sold out the Kurds

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) announce a ceasefire in Syria between Kurdish fighters and Turkish soldiers on Oct. 17, 2019. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pushing back on allegations the U.S. hung its Kurdish allies out to dry in ceasefire negotiations with Turkey, and that violence is continuing despite the deal, reports Politico.

"Our sense is, the political commitments that were made yesterday will end up being successful. We also have reporting that... the [Syrian Defense Forces] are actually beginning their departure. So key elements of the ceasefire look to be taking effect."
— Sec. Pompeo, per Politico
  • Pompeo acknowledged the lack of "perfect command and control" among the warring parties in Northern Syria, and conceded the ceasefire would ideally have taken hold in a "faster, cleaner in a more straightforward way."
  • Pompeo also said the U.S. continues to be allied with the Kurds against ISIS, and that the aim of the ceasefire was to "protect the Kurds" from Turkey.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has received some stark criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for abandoning the Kurds, who assisted the U.S. in fighting ISIS.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said that would be a "bloodstain" on the U.S., per Politico.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan "got everything he wanted" during the negotiations, notes Politico.

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