Trump not worried about Isis fighters fleeing Syria because ‘they’re going to be escaping to Europe’

‘That’s where they want to go. They want to go back to their homes,’ says president

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 10 October 2019 00:24 BST
Donald Trump claims remaining Isis fighters 'will escape to Europe' during Turkish-Syria conflict

Donald Trump has suggested he is not concerned some Isis fighters could escape in the chaos of a Turkish attack on Syria because “they’re going to be escaping to Europe”.

The US president abruptly removed 50 US troops out of northern Syria, allowing Turkey to attack America's Kurdish allies unimpeded.

The withdrawal prompted fears that some of the thousands of Isis fighters held by Kurdish-led forces might escape in the aftermath of the Turkish incursion.

Asked if he was concerned about some of the Isis fighters escaping and posing a threat elsewhere, Mr Trump said: “Well they’re going to be escaping to Europe.

“That’s where they want to go. They want to go back to their homes.”

Mr Trump said many fighters were of European origin and he had given European nations four chances to take responsibility for them.

“But Europe didn’t want them from us. We could have given it to them, they could have had trials, they could have done whatever they wanted.

“But as usual it’s not reciprocal.”

Mr Trump also said he was open to imposing sanctions on Turkey if the Turks do not treat the Kurds humanely.

Asked what he would do if Erdogan, the Turkish president, were to wipe out the Kurds, Trump said: “I will wipe out his economy if he does that.”

Smoke seen rising across Syrian border as Turkey launches offensive

Mr Trump attempted to cast his decision as being in line with his long-held belief the US cannot be the world’s policeman and must bring some troops home.

On Monday he had threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” the Turkish economy if the country took any action he considered “off-limits” following his decision.

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