President Donald Trump declared victory in Syria on Wednesday by announcing he would remove sanctions against Turkey after the country’s officials agreed to permanently stop their military operation against Kurdish fighters in the region.

“Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border. Safe Zone created!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Ceasefire ha held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us,” he added before claiming captured ISIS prisoners were “secured.”

Trump’s decision to lift sanctions on Turkey drew severe bipartisan rebuke, including from special Syria envoy James Jeffrey, who said Turkish military officials possibly committed war crimes in its operation against the Kurds.


Many critics of the move also pointed out that Russia has been seizing land in Syria since the White House’s decision to withdraw American troops and thus abandon the Kurds, a key U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) disputed Trump’s claim that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to end the strike against Kurdish forces, while Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) bemoaned Trump’s decision to not impose a harsher punishment on Turkey.

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