People holding children disembark from a minibus transporting Syrians who have been recently turned into refugees by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria.

People holding children disembark from a minibus transporting Syrians who have been recently turned into refugees by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria.

Despite criticism from allies at home and abroad, President Donald Trump stood by his decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria.

He doubled down on Thursday saying, “If Turkey goes into Syria, it is between Turkey and Syria.”

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He also weighed in on Kurdish forces in the region, saying, “They’re not angels.” Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are now in Ankara, trying to negotiate a ceasefire..

But thus far, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has only said the Kurds should lay down their weapons.

We parse out what the president said and what as well as what this means for humanitarian efforts.

Produced by Gabrielle Healy.

An earlier version of this post said Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were meeting in Istanbul. That’s inaccurate, they are meeting in the Turkish capital, Ankara. We regret the error.

Guests

  • Lara Seligman Pentagon correspondent, Foreign Policy; @laraseligman

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