Trump says U.S. will lift sanctions on Turkey, calling cease-fire in Syria ‘permanent’ thumbnail

Trump says U.S. will lift sanctions on Turkey, calling cease-fire in Syria ‘permanent’

President Trump announced Wednesday that the United States will lift sanctions on Turkey, saying that the Turkish government has informed the White House that it will abide by what he characterized as a “permanent” cease-fire along the border with Syria.At a hastily organized event in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Trump also used the occasion to justify his “America First” foreign policy agenda, pushing back against critics by arguing that he is removing U.S. troops from a region where they should not be involved.“Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand,” Trump said.He took credit for the cease-fire and suggested the agreement would save tens of thousands of Kurdish lives in the region — even though one day earlier, Russia and Turkey agreed to a plan to push Syrian Kurdish fighters from a wide swath of territory just south of Turkey’s border, cementing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s preeminent role in Syria as American troops depart and U.S. influence wanes.The agreement will leave Turkey and Russia in control of territory formerly held by Kurdish forces once allied with the United States.The Trump administration had announced the sanctions on Oct. 14 after the Turkish military offensive against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria. That offensive followed Trump’s announcement that he would pull U.S. troops from Syria — a decision that brought stiff, bipartisan criticism.In his remarks Wednesday, Trump called the cease-fire “permanent” but added that the word is a “questionable” one to use when discussing the region — and said sanctions on Turkey would be lifted “unless something happens that we’re not happy with.”Trump also said he had spoken by phone with Kurdish general Mazloum Abdi, who he said assured him that Islamic State fighters will remain in captivity.“A few got out, a small number,” Trump said, adding that some have been recaptured, despite statements from other administration officials to the contrary.And in a sign of tensions between Trump and leaders of the Republican Party, Trump suggested that he remains open to a potential White
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