Less than a day after threatening to "obliterate" Turkey's economy if it does anything "off limits" in northern Syria against the Kurds, Donald Trump said that Ankara is actually a great trading partner and a trusted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.
US involvement in Syria has been fraught with peril since it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to recruit, train, arm and advise local fighters in combat against the Islamic State.
In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, the senators said Trump's decision to pull back troops will severely harm U.S. strategic interests and reduce its influence in the region while strengthening Turkey, Russia, and Iran.
"Turkey considers the Kurdish forces as "terrorists" and insists it needs a "safety zone" along the border".
"If they (Turks) come into an area with obvious prisons and the SDF withdraws from those security positions around those prisons, we expect the Turks to take them over", he said in a briefing.
Turkish soldiers have been seen arriving in a town on Turkey's border with Syria, just hours after the defence ministry said it had completed preparations to launch a military operation in north-east Syria. Erdogan seemed to have rejected a joint U.S.
The Pentagon also refuted reports that the USA president did not consult with his military advisers over withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria.
President Bashar Assad's government abandoned the predominantly Kurdish area in northern Syria at the height of Syria's civil war to focus on more key areas where the military was being challenged by the rebels.
According to Trump, the United States military should fight only where it is in the country's interest, "and only fight to win".
"The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey-as did the President-that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria". The PKK, which has been fighting an insurgency in Turkey since 1984, has rear bases in northern Iraq. Last year, Turkey seized the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 people.
USA officials told The Associated Press that Turkish troops on Tuesday were massed along the border in apparent preparation for an incursion across the border.
Administration officials also said that the pullback wasn't a green light for Turkey to invade Syria.