President Trump said Wednesday that sanctions will be lifted on Turkey as a ceasefire remains in place in northern Syria. Turkey invaded the region earlier this month after Trump withdrew U.S. support for Syrian Kurds who had helped the U.S. fight ISIS. More than 11,000 Kurds died in that campaign. While President Trump had vowed to remove U.S. forces from Syria, he acknowledged on Wednesday that some U.S. troops would stay to guard oil fields.
President Donald Trump: “A small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil. And we’re going to be protecting it, and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future. … Let someone else fight over this long, bloodstained sand.”
Russian and Turkish forces have agreed to joint patrols along the Syrian-Turkish border, after presidents Erdogan and Putin met in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday and agreed to a plan that would force Syrian Kurdish forces to retreat from a wide swath of the region. The United Nations reports Turkey’s offensive displaced over 176,000 people, including nearly 80,000 children. Meanwhile, in Geneva, Switzerland, a Syrian Kurdish man set himself on fire outside the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Wednesday. He was airlifted to an area hospital with severe burns. We’ll have more on the crisis in Syria after headlines.