Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday claimed that the United States made the decision to withdraw forces from Syria due to decisions Turkey made.
“Turkey is the most important factor in the US decision to withdraw from Syria,” Çavuşoğlu said, as reported by local media.
US President Donald Trump last week ordered all US forces to withdraw from Syria, saying the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was his sole reason for being in the war-torn country.
Trump made the determination to draw the United States out of Syria after a Friday phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Officials familiar with the Friday call said that Erdogan, among other things, had stressed to Trump that the Syrian Kurds were terrorists — allied with Kurdish separatists in his own country — and asked why the United States was supporting them rather than its NATO ally,” according to The Washington Post. “He noted that [ISIL] had been vanquished and questioned the need for an ongoing US troop presence, saying that Turkish troops already massed on the Syrian border could handle any problem there.”
Trump, who campaigned on bringing American troops home, apparently followed Erdoğan’s advice and a few days later issued the order to withdraw all US forces in Syria.