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President Trump gave a triumphant statement from the White House on Wednesday, claiming despite widespread criticism that while his decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria led to a "short-term outburst," it resulted in a "great outcome."

"Over the last five days, you have seen that a ceasefire that we established along Syria's border has held and it has held very well beyond most expectations. Earlier this morning, the government of Turkey informed my administration that they would be stopping combat and their offensive in Syria and making the ceasefire permanent. ... I have, therefore, instructed the secretary of the treasury to lift all sanctions imposed on Oct. 14. ... This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else, no other nation."

The big picture: Trump's decision led directly to a Turkish offensive against America's Kurdish allies and the escape of ISIS detainees. And while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned internationally for the invasion, the outcome Trump described rewards him handsomely — with a long-sought "safe zone" negotiated with Russia on the Syrian border and the removal of all U.S. sanctions imposed by Trump, who was effusive in thanking Erdogan today for stopping the offensive.

  • Trump said a small number of U.S. troops are "protecting the oil" in Syria and will continue to do so, a move that is complicated logistically, legally and in terms of the message it sends about America's presence in the Middle East. He said of the oil, "We'll be deciding what we’re going to be doing with it in the future."
  • Facing claims he betrayed the Kurds by clearing a path for Erdogan to attack them, Trump declared that he'd "saved the lives of many, many Kurds" by helping end the offensive.
  • He continued to portray Syria and the wider Middle East as a hopelessly violent place, saying the U.S. can't hope to solve "ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts" before adding: "Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand."

Go deeper: Russia and Turkey capitalize on Trump's Syria exit

Go deeper

Sidewalk robots get legal rights as "pedestrians"

"We’ve got about 1,000 of them running around out there," Ryan Tuohy of Starship tells Axios. Photo courtesy of Starship Technologies.

As small robots proliferate on sidewalks and city streets, so does legislation that grants them generous access rights and even classifies them, in the case of Pennsylvania, as "pedestrians."

Why it matters: Fears of a dystopian urban world where people dodge heavy, fast-moving droids are colliding with the aims of robot developers large and small — including Amazon and FedEx — to deploy delivery fleets.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
32 mins ago - Economy & Business

The biggest obstacle to a wealth tax

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Taxing the rich is an idea that's back. An "ultra-millionaire tax" introduced by Elizabeth Warren and other left-wing Democrats this week would raise more than $3 trillion over 10 years, they say, while making the tax system as a whole more fair.

Why it matters: New taxes would be a necessary part of any Democratic plan to redistribute wealth and reduce inequality. But President Biden has more urgent priorities — and Warren's wealth tax in particular faces constitutional obstacles that make it a hard sell.

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

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