Despite announcing US troops were pulling out of the region, Donald Trump describes Turkey’s operation as “a bad idea”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has defended Donald Trump’s withdrawal of troops in Syria, saying the president did not give Turkey the “green light” to invade the country.
Speaking to PBS Newshour, Mr Pompeo said that during the phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “it became very clear that there were American soldiers that were going to be at risk and the President made a decision to put them in a place where they were out of harm’s way. That’s what we’ve done”.
He also added that he feels that Turkey has a “legitimate security concern” and waved off claims from Republican Senator Lindsay Graham that the attack could lead to a reemergence of IS.
The land assault in Turkey, alongside the Syrian National Army, came as US forces began withdrawing from the region on Sunday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the campaign, which followed Donald Trump’s decision on Sunday to alter US policy.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Mr Erdogan said in a tweet.
He added that Turkish armed forces, together with the Syrian National Army, had launched what they called Operation Peace Spring against Kurdish fighters.