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Trump: Syria crisis 'has nothing to do with us'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 16, 2019 - Duration: 02:59s

Trump: Syria crisis 'has nothing to do with us'

U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed criticism over the continuing crisis in Syria, a stance in stark contrast with the president's fellow Republicans in the United States.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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Trump: Syria crisis 'has nothing to do with us'

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be for the United States, strategically brilliant." U.S. President Donald Trump - increasingly under fire for contributing to the chaos in northern Syria - on Wednesday dismissed concerns about Turkey's ongoing military onslaught.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "They have a problem with Turkey, they have a problem with a border.

It's not our border.

We shouldn't be losing lives over it." Trump's decision to pull American forces from the region last week stranded local U.S. allies on the ground ahead of Turkey's military assault, and spurred Syrian government troops backed by Russian forces to move into areas abandoned by the U.S. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Our soldiers are not in harm's way, as they shouldn't be, as two countries fight over land that has nothing to do with us." The president also downplayed concerns about the safety of America's Syrian Kurdish allies who fought against ISIS now bearing the brunt of the Turkish attack, and suggested that the Kurds may not be deserving of American sympathy.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "The Kurds know how to fight, and as I said they are not angels.

They're not angels, if you take a look.

You have to go back and take a look." The Republican president's take on the crisis remained in stark contrast with Republican lawmakers who continue to raise alarm that the situation in Syria poses severe risks for the region, for U.S. security, and for American values.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY, SAYING: "We risk the resurgence of ISIS, where the Turks have gone in and we see evidence of atrocities being committed, and where our allies, the Kurds, frankly, are facing what looks like a betrayal from the United States." Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming is one of many Republicans outrage by Trump's troop withdrawal, who called the decision a "catastrophic mistake." At a news conference Wednesday Cheney did not criticize Trump by name, but fired a volley of dismay at the decision, saying it undercut America's might and influence around the globe.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY, SAYING: "We are going to face the possibility living in a world where America is not setting the rules, but our adversaries, the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians are setting the rules." [FLASH] (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "So if Russia really wants to get involved with Syria, that's really up to them." Criticized for giving Turkey a virtual green-light to begin the invasion, the Trump administration is now dispatching its very top officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Turkey to try and convince President Tayyip Erdogan to agree to a cease-fire.

The Turkish leader on Wednesday dismissed the idea that his military incursion might stop before it had achieved its goals.

(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "The operation will end only when we control the 30-35 km depth, without exceptions.

Until we reach this goal, no power can stop us." (FLASH) (SOUNDBITE) (English) EXCHANGE BETWEEN REPORTER AND U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: REPORTER: "Are you OK with Erdogan saying that he is not going to do a cease-fire?" TRUMP: "He didn't say that at all.

He's meeting, and he's meeting today with some of our representatives." U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien arrived in Ankara on Wednesday.

The vice president and secretary of state will meet with Erdogan a day later.

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