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'UK DENIES IT'S "THRILLED" BY US WITHDRAWAL FROM SYRIA'

Minister has 'no idea' why Trump made bizarre statement 

By Richard Hall, Middle East Correspondent

Independent – 9 October 2019

The British Government said it would oppose any Turkish incursion into Syria and rejected a claim by Donald Trump that the UK was "thrilled" with his decision to green light the offensive.

"We have been consistently clear with Turkey that unilateral military action must be avoided as it would destabilise the region and threaten efforts to secure the lasting defeat of Daesh [Isis],"

Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison told Parliament.

Mr Trump made a shock announcement on Sunday night to withdraw troops from the Turkey-Syria border, and said the US would not stand in the way of a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The move was criticised as a betrayal of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which has been the West's main ally in the fight against Isis.

"A lot of people have their opinion. I could name many who are extremely thrilled that we're coming home,"

Mr Trump said at the White House yesterday.

"The UK is very thrilled at this decision. As you know, they have soldiers over there also. And others. But many people agree with it very strongly. I understand both sides of it very well."

Speaking in the Commons, Tory MP Julian Lewis said:

"Saying 'Oh well, it's only a withdrawal of 50 people' is like saying it's only the withdrawal of HMS Endurance before the invasion of the Falkland Islands."

He added:

"If the green light is given to Turkey, under its Islamist regime, to attack our allies, it will be an act of treachery and betrayal not dissimilar to what happened in 1944 when Stalin basically gave the green light to Hitler to crush the Warsaw uprising."

Mr Murrison replied:

"We would oppose any incursion by our good friend and NATO ally Turkey into Syria."

He added that he had "no idea" where Mr Trump's suggestion that the UK agreed with his decision came from, adding that it was not the view expressed in a conversation between UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his US counterpart Mike Pompeo.

The decision to permit Turkey to roll into northern Syria and effectively abandon the SDF, which Ankara considers a terrorist group because of their links to a banned Kurdish separatist organisation inside Turkey, was widely criticised by Democrats and Republicans. It was also condemned in the region by those who feared it could trigger more bloodshed.

Labour MP Kevin Brennan said Mr Trump's plans for US troops to step aside are a "moral betrayal" and a "strategic error", with MPs hearing it could set back the fight against Isis. Tory former leader Iain Duncan Smith said:

"Can we make it very clear publicly, not just to the Americans, that we disapprove of this, but more importantly to the Turks that, if they do carry out their threat, that we will consider this to be an aggressive act against ourselves as much as we would against the Kurds?"

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‘TRUMP PLAN “WILL STAB UK’s KURDISH ALLIES IN THE BACK” ’

By Dominic Yeatman

Metro – 9 October 2019

The UK would share the blame for

'the US President's decision to stab our Kurdish allies in the back',

MPs have been told, amid fears that Turkey will move its forces into northern Syria. Politicians from all sides criticised Donald Trump's withdrawal of US troops and his decision not to stand in the way of a Turkish offensive against Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said we should make it clear that, if the Turks attack the Kurds,

'we will consider this to be an aggressive act against ourselves as much as we would against the Kurds'.

Tory MP Julian Lewis said allowing Turkey to attack would be like

'in 1944 when Stalin basically gave the green light to Hitler to crush the Warsaw uprising'.

Labour former minister Kevin Brennan said we could become complicit in

'the decision to stab our Kurdish allies in the back'.

MPs' uproar followed Mr Trump's claim at a White House briefing that the UK was 'thrilled' by his plans.

The President, due to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan next month, created further confusion yesterday by defending Ankara as a trading partner but adding

'in no way have we abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters'.