The White House announced Sunday night that Turkey will soon invade Northern Syria while US troops remain on the sidelines.
The development raises questions about the future of the region’s US-allied Kurdish fighters, who helped American forces fight Islamic State terrorists — but are considered a terrorist group by Turkey.
The Kurdish militia in Syria said a Turkish attack could reverse the gains made against ISIS.
President Trump was made aware of Turkey’s plans in a Sunday phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House statement said.
“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation,” the statement read.
Moving forward, “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial “Caliphate” by the United States.”
The US presence in Syria has been a contentious issue in the Trump administration.
Last December, the president announced he wanted a full withdrawal of troops from the country.
Shortly after, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who strongly opposed the move, resigned from office.
Despite Trump’s intentions, last March, it was revealed the US was readying to keep 1,000 US troops in Syria.