President Donald Trump on Friday downplayed an outbreak of violence amid a U.S. brokered truce along the Syrian Turkish border.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "There was some sniper fire this morning, there was mortar fire this morning that was eliminated quickly, and they're back to the full pause." Trump's comments came one day after he praised a deal announced by Vice President Mike Pence that would pause fighting in Northeast Syria for five days to to let Kurdish forces withdraw from a "safe zone" Ankara had sought to capture.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "This was a great thing for the Kurds, this was a great thing for Turkey, this is great for everybody." The deal was aimed at easing a crisis after Trump ordered a hasty and unexpected U.S. retreat from Northeast, which has lead to an outbreak of violence and gruesome scenes where bodies are laying in the streets.
At a Texas campaign rally Thursday the U.S. president seemed to suggest the chaos and bloodshed of the previous week was a negotiating tactic.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "It was unconventional what I did.
I said they're going to have to fight a little while.
Sometimes you have to let them fight a little while…Like two kids in a lot you have to let them fight and then you pull then apart." And on Friday he made a puzzling remark about the spoils of war.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We've taken the oil in the Middle East.
The oil that we're talking about.
The oil that everybody was worried about.
The U.S. has control of that." An apparent reference to oil fields in eastern Syria that actually have been under the control of the U.S.-allied Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Trump's decision to move US troops out of the path of Turkish forces sparked a fierce bipartisan backlash in Washington, with US lawmakers on both sides are the aisle blasting Trump for abandoning America's Kurdish allies and ceding territory.
On Friday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post that said, "Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake.
It will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances." The global reaction has been just as damning.
French president Emmanuel Macron on Friday decried NATO's inability to react to what he called Turkey's "crazy" offensive into northern Syria and said it was time Europe stopped acting like a junior ally when it came to the Middle East.
SOUNDBITE (FRENCH) FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON: "I think that what has happened over the last days is a serious mistake by the West and NATO in the region." Macron said that he, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the coming weeks.