As Turkey began its assault against America’s Kurdish allies on Wednesday, sending troops and warplanes across the border with Syria, President Trump dismissed concerns about what is widely characterized as a betrayal of the fighters who bore the brunt of the battle against ISIS. “Alliances are very easy” to establish, Trump said in response to a question about whether pulling American troops out of the region — leaving the field clear for Turkey to attack their historic enemies — would make it harder to enlist allies in the future. Trump spoke at a White House event where he signed an executive order on transparency in instituting new federal regulations. After a phone call with Turkish President Recep Erdogan Sunday, Trump ordered the immediate withdrawal of the token American force that had been stationed in northern Syria, serving as a tripwire against Turkey’s long-standing desire to eliminate the Kurdish presence on their border. The Kurds, an ethnic group in a region that spans Turkey, northern Syria and Iraq, have fought alongside Americans in the war on ISIS for years. But their long-standing goal of carving out a national state in the region is strongly opposed by Turkey, which regards at least some of their forces as terrorists.
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