The US withdrawal from Syria is “a diplomatic victory” for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a French daily said on Thursday.
Le Monde, the daily, noted that the U.S. pullout was announced a few days after a telephone call between the U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan on Friday, Dec. 14.
“It seems that the U.S. president gave in to the pressures of Turkey’s number one [Erdogan],” it added.
The daily also said that Turkey can launch operations against the YPG/PKK terror group in Syrian regions.
Last week, Erdogan said a counter-terrorism operation could begin “at any moment” east of the Euphrates River, stressing that Turkey would never allow a “terror corridor” to be established along its border.
Notably, in late November, the U.S. army fortified areas of northern Syria along the roughly 100-kilometer border with Turkey’s southern Sanliurfa province.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.
US troops in Syria set to return home
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday.
“We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next steps of this campaign,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Reports have suggested all State Department personnel would depart Syria within the next 24 hours while U.S. forces will leave within 60 to 100 days.
The withdrawal comes on the eve of a possible Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria against the YPG/PKK terrorist group. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.