President Donald Trump praised the leader of Turkey for invading northern Syria, saying they have to have it “cleaned out.”

“For many, many years, Turkey, in all fairness, they’ve had a legitimate problem” with northeast Syria, where the Kurds are settled, Trump said Thursday. “They had terrorists, they had a lot of people in there they couldn’t have …. and they had to have it cleaned out.”

Vice President Mike Pence negotiated a five day ceasefire in Turkey, but the Turkish foreign minister emphasized that it was a “pause,” not a ceasefire.

The five-day pause would provide time for Kurds to withdraw from the Turkish border and surrender their heavy weapons, but also allows Turkey to take a strip of Northern Syria and suspends U.S. economic sanctions against them.


On Wednesday, Trump said the Kurds were “no angels,” even though they have been instrumental allies in fighting against ISIS.

In an overwhelming 354-60 vote Wednesday, the House passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and saying Turkey should cease its military action in Syria. It also says the White House should present a plan for an “enduring defeat” of the Islamic State group.

The foreign affairs committees of the Unite Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Parliament and U.S. House of Representatives issued a rare joint statement condemning the Turkish offensive and Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops.

“The Turkish offensive is causing suffering for the local people who are forced to flee and a further instability in Syria and the neighboring region,” the statement reads. “We consider the abandonment of the Syrian Kurds to be wrong.”

“We deeply regret the decision of the President of the United States to withdraw American troops from north eastern Syria which marks another landmark in the change of American foreign policy in the Near and Middle East,” the statement said. “The turmoil caused by the Turkish offensive may contribute to a resurgence of Islamic terrorism and undermines years of effort and investment to bring stability and peace in this part of the world.”

Trump celebrated the five-day pause saying, it is a “great day for the United States. It’s a great day for Turkey. The Kurds were great. Great day for the Kurds. It’s really a great day for civilization.”

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