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As US Troops Depart, Residents Pelt Them

'Like rats, America is running away,' says one man in Kurdish-dominated city

(Newser) - Angry over the US withdrawal, residents of a Kurdish-dominated Syrian city hurled potatoes at departing American military vehicles as they drove by on Monday, the AP reports. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said a small residual US military force will stay in eastern Syria to protect Kurdish-held oil fields for at... More »

We Won't Forget Letter From Trump: Erdogan

'Necessary steps' will be taken, Turkey's president says

(Newser) - Turkey's president said Friday that “we haven’t forgotten" President Trump's unusual letter and said that, in time, "steps will be taken" in response to it. "Don't be a fool," Trump had warned Recep Tayyip Erdogan the letter about Turkey's military offensive... More »

Fighting in Northern Syria Continues Despite Ceasefire

Kurdish-held Syrian town was shelled

(Newser) - Fighting continued Friday morning in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a US-brokered ceasefire that went into effect overnight. Shelling and gunfire could be heard in and around Ras al-Ayn as smoke billowed from locations near the border with... More »

Pence: We've Managed to Cut a Deal in Turkey

The vice president and Mike Pompeo went to Ankara to negotiate

(Newser) - Looks like Turkey's invasion of Syria may be short-lived, ABC News reports. The country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed Thursday to halt the invasion for five days while Kurdish fighters leave a safe zone in northern Syria: "It will be a pause in military operation for 120... More »

Kremlin Comments on Trump's Letter to Turkey

'You don’t often encounter such language in correspondence between heads of state'

(Newser) - Count the Kremlin among those puzzled by the personal letter President Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “You don’t often encounter such language in correspondence between heads of state," says spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "It's a highly unusual letter." Among other things, Trump... More »

'Don't Be a Fool,' Trump Said in Strange Letter to Erdogan

'Let's work out a good deal!' he says

(Newser) - A letter from President Trump to his Turkish counterpart surfaced Wednesday—and it was so unusual that many commentators initially had trouble believing it was real. Trump begins the letter to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was first obtained by Fox , by saying "Let's work out a good a... More »

House Makes Its Thoughts on Troop Withdrawal Known

It voted its bipartisan condemnation of Trump's move 354-60

(Newser) - The House has overwhelmingly voted its bipartisan condemnation of President Trump's withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria. Despite stark divisions over Democrats' Trump impeachment inquiry, Democrats and Republicans banded together Wednesday and approved a nonbinding resolution by 354-60 vote, reports the AP . The resolution states Congress' opposition to... More »

Trump: Kurds Are 'Not Angels,' Have a Lot of Sand to Play With

President's comments seen as dismissive

(Newser) - In what Politico calls "perhaps the president’s most dismissive defense of his widely condemned decision earlier this month to allow Turkey to invade Syria," the president on Wednesday cast the US-allied Kurds as "not angels" who are fighting a battle "that has nothing to do... More »

Turkey Rejects Calls for Syria Ceasefire

Turkish leader says he's 'not concerned' by US sanctions

(Newser) - Russia said it was working to prevent a conflict between advancing Turkish and Syrian government forces on Wednesday, as Turkey's president defied growing pressure and sanctions from Western allies for a ceasefire in northern Syria. Russia moved quickly to further entrench its leadership role in the region after President... More »

Russian Troops Quickly Move to Fill US Void

Kremlin says units now patrolling in northern Syria

(Newser) - Russia isn't wasting much time getting troops on the ground in the part of Syria vacated by American forces. On Tuesday, the Kremlin announced that Russian troops were on patrol between Syrian and Turkish troops near the northern town of Manbij. The Washington Post and the New York Times ... More »

Trump Authorizes Tariffs, Sanctions on Turkey

As US scrambles for Syria exit

(Newser) - Targeting Turkey's economy, President Trump announced sanctions Monday aimed at restraining the Turks' assault against Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria—an assault Turkey began after Trump announced he was moving US troops out of the way. Meanwhile, the Americans were scrambling for Syria's exits, a move criticized... More »

One More Wrinkle in Turkey Chaos: 50 US Nukes

Pentagon reportedly rethinking whether it's still safe to keep them there

(Newser) - The military situation near the Turkish border in Syria remains in flux, with allegiances shifting quickly amid uncertainty of how everything will shake out. But the fast-moving developments also have drawn attention to a lesser-known fact of US foreign policy: The Pentagon has about 50 tactical nuclear weapons stored in... More »

Kurds Strike Last-Minute Deal to Avoid 'Genocide'

Syria agrees to protect Kurds from invading Turkish forces

(Newser) - This might be a last-minute, desperation deal—but now Syrian Kurds have some protection. They said Sunday the Syrian government has agreed to send army forces to the nation's northern border to try to curb Turkey's assault, the BBC reports. Russia brokered the deal over three days between... More »

SecDef: US Troops Caught Between Advancing Armies

Esper says US 'preparing to evacuate' troops from Syrian north

(Newser) - Amid growing chaos in Syria, the US is "preparing to evacuate" and President Trump has ordered all US troops to withdraw from the country's north to avoid a conflict between Turkey and Kurdish fighters, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday. The approximately 1,... More »

Trump: I'm an 'Island of One'

Says US cannot fight 'endless wars,' defends decision to get out of Syria

(Newser) - President Trump said Saturday that he is an "island of one" for removing US forces from northeastern Syria. But the AP reports that he remained steadfast and defended a move that drew widespread bipartisan criticism that he has endangered stability in the Middle East and risked the lives of... More »

Turkey Boasts Big Victory in Syria

As the Arab League condemns 'Turkey's aggression'

(Newser) - Turkey's military said it captured a key Syrian border town under heavy bombardment Saturday in its most significant gain since an offensive against Kurdish fighters began four days ago, with no sign of relenting despite mounting international criticism, the AP reports. Turkish troops entered central Ras al-Ayn, according to... More »

Pentagon: Turkey Attacked Where It Knew US Troops Were

Meanwhile, a reported ISIS escape and a climbing death toll

(Newser) - As Turkey's push into Syria continues into its fourth day, with further ground and air assaults in the region, news is trickling in on the casualties. Per Reuters , the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that 74 Syrian fighters led by Kurds have died so far, with civilian deaths... More »

Thousands of 'Betrayed' Kurds Flee Offensive

Turkey says it has lost one soldier and 'neutralized' hundreds of 'terrorists'

(Newser) - More than 60,000 people in northern Syria have fled a Turkish offensive that is now in its third day, aid groups say. Turkish forces pushed further into the region Thursday, carrying out air and ground attacks against Syrian Kurdish fighters, reports Reuters . The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says... More »

Report: Tillerson Rejected Trump Request as Illegal

Bloomberg: Then-secretary of state declined to have DOJ drop a case against Giuliani client

(Newser) - Bloomberg is out with a report that it says is in sync with President Trump's test-the-boundaries style of governing. In 2017, Trump asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to get the Justice Department to drop a case against an Iranian-Turkish man who just happened to be a client... More »

Trump Offers Bizarre Reason for Abandoning Kurdish Allies

'They didn't help us in Normandy,' he says

(Newser) - President Trump angered critics including fellow Republicans with bizarre remarks Wednesday downplaying the importance of the alliance between US and Kurdish forces against ISIS, and of alliances in general. The president defended his decision to allow a Turkish offensive in northern Syria by pointing out that Kurdish fighters did not... More »

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