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Turkey would not have invaded Syria if US troops remained, says the former top US military officer



A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Turkey would not have invaded Northeast Syria if US troops remained in their posts. The American retreat "opened the door" for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said retired naval admiral Mike Mullen.

"Erdogan would not send these troops across the border if the Americans were there," Mullen told Jennifer of Fox News Griffin Monday night at University of Chicago Institute of Politics. "And in that respect, it opens the door, and when we left, it opens the door."

Only a handful of US troops remained in Syria after President Trump ordered earlier this month to pull the majority of 1

,000 troops off the northeastern part of the country and relocate them to Iraq. The move essentially paved the way for Ankara's military offensive on October 9 to drive Kurds out of the region. They claimed they wanted to "neutralize terrorist threats" and establish a "safe zone".

AMERICAN DROPS LEAVING THE SYRIAN CITY CONTROLLED BY COOKING POTATOES AND TOMATOES

The US and Turkey have signed a 120-hour ceasefire deal on Thursday, which has since expired is. Experts and analysts say Ankara's goal is to put an end to any potential Kurdish autonomous state along its border in Syria, as Turkey sees the Kurds as terrorists.

"Today is the last day all terrorists in the area are evacuated. "Erdogan said Tuesday before leaving for Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi." From 22 clock tonight, the time will run out. Our affiliated agencies closely monitor the situation on the ground. If the promises the US has given us are not kept, our operation will continue. "

Turkey and Russia later announced on Tuesday that after Kurdish withdrawal, nations will conduct joint patrols along the border region Russian military police and Syrian troops Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, wants Kurdish troops 18 miles from Wednesday noon Push back in front of the Syrian northern border within 150 hours.

Putin and Erdogan met for more than six hours before talking with reporters to announce joint patrols, the fact that a NATO ally preferred the border with Russian and not patrolling with American forces, Pentagon officials scratched their heads.

And that's exactly what the US did not want, according to Mullen.

"We would all want to lose and win. Putin will win in Russia. [Syrian President Bashar] Assad will win in Syria. ISIS will win. Erdogan will win. Iran will win. And we and our friends will lose, "he said.

Mullen was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011 and has more than four decades of military experience.

The former chairman contradicted Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and current Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley, both of whom said a few dozen US soldiers had not stopped a 15,000 Turkish invasion, including so-called mercenaries, who are being charged with war crimes Kurds committed against Turkey. To make matters worse, the Iraqi military says the hundreds of US troops that arrived yesterday from Syria are not welcome, even in direct conflict with what Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo Fox Business & # 39; Maria Bartiromo said was he was asked if Turkey itself had invaded Syria with US troops.

"One hundred percent," he said. "I was very involved when President Erdogan told us that he was ready to move and that he would do so in a few hours." President Trump saw that American soldiers were in the way … To believe we were going to NATO Fight against NATO – the president is making the right decision at the moment to clear the American forces. "

Between 200 and 300 US troops remain in Al-Tanf in southern Syria.

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Lucas Tomlinson, Jennifer Griffin, David Asman, and Greg Norman of Fox News contributed to the report, as did The Associated Press.


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