Donald Trump wants to mediate between Turkey and Syrian Kurds

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The US President has commissioned US diplomats to campaign for a ceasefire. Meanwhile, fighting in northern Syria is driving thousands of people to flee.

US President Donald Trump apparently wants to achieve a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds in northern Syria. “I hope we can mediate,” said Trump in Washington. A US State Department official said Trump had given the diplomat the task of exploring the possibility of a ceasefire. “And we are doing that right now.”

Previously, Trump had written on Twitter that the US had three options for continuing the conflict: “Sending thousands of soldiers for a military victory to make Turkey financially hard to sanction or negotiate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds.” Trump emphasized in Washington that sending troops was what he least wanted.

Turkey had begun a long-planned offensive against the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) in northern Syria on Wednesday despite international criticism. Trump had made the Turkish operation possible by pulling the US troops out of the region. He was also criticized in his own party. The YPG was the US’s most important ally in the fight against IS in Syria. In response to the criticism, Trump warned the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdoğan then with a “destruction” of the Turkish economy, should the military mission not “human” run.

A US government official said Thursday that the red line would be crossed, for example, by “ethnic cleansing” of indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian population by artillery or the Air Force. This has not been observed so far.

Trump sees no concern that the offensive against the YPG would allow hundreds of IS fighters currently in Kurdish prisons to escape. Turkey has promised the US that it will take responsibility for the IS prisoners.

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