Turkish lira rises as markets don’t take Trump’s tariff threats seriously

The dollar was down 1% against the lira for the session, with the Turkish currency trading at 5.8628 per dollar at 8 a.m. London time on Tuesday. The tariff threats are mere “window dressing from Trump,” said Timothy Ash, senior emerging markets strategist at Bluebay Asset Management. “Likely relief in Turkish markets — they could have been much worse.” “The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Tr


The dollar was down 1% against the lira for the session, with the Turkish currency trading at 5.8628 per dollar at 8 a.m. London time on Tuesday. The tariff threats are mere “window dressing from Trump,” said Timothy Ash, senior emerging markets strategist at Bluebay Asset Management. “Likely relief in Turkish markets — they could have been much worse.” “The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Tr
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-15  Authors: natasha turak
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Turkish lira rises as markets don't take Trump's tariff threats seriously

DUBAI — Turkish assets are breathing a sigh of relief after tariffs threatened by President Donald Trump over Ankara’s military offensive in Syria came up less serious than markets had expected. Turkey’s lira rose in Tuesday morning trading on the back of a statement by Trump promising a 50% tariff on Turkish steel imports and a halt to trade negotiations between Ankara and Washington — penalties that analysts are calling “window dressing.” The dollar was down 1% against the lira for the session, with the Turkish currency trading at 5.8628 per dollar at 8 a.m. London time on Tuesday. The tariff threats are mere “window dressing from Trump,” said Timothy Ash, senior emerging markets strategist at Bluebay Asset Management. “Minimal sanctions. A few individuals. A trade deal which was years off anyway. And steel tariffs up to 50% — Turkey hardly exports any (steel to the U.S.) anyway,” Ash said in an emailed note. “Likely relief in Turkish markets — they could have been much worse.”

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters near the town of Tukhar, north of Syria’s northern city of Manbij, on October 14, 2019. Aref Tammawi | AFP | Getty Images

The lira was labeled the world’s worst performing major currency in the second week of October as sanctions stress weighed on Turkish assets. Trump has been threatening to “totally obliterate” Turkey’s fragile economy over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s military offensive into northern Syria against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces — an operation Trump essentially greenlighted with his shock announcement to withdraw U.S. troops from the area and hand responsibility for dealing with remaining Islamic State fighters to the Turks. “These appear to be relatively light sanctions — meant to appease Congress without sundering Trump’s relations with Erdogan,” Charlie Roberston, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, told CNBC.

Turkey expands assault against US-backed Kurds

The agreement between the two countries came after a phone call between Trump and Erdogan, the contents of which are not publicly known. Widespread bipartisan criticism followed Trump’s announcement, described by numerous lawmakers and security officials as an abandonment of America’s Kurdish allies governing the region after they lost heavy casualties helping the U.S. drive out ISIS. This prompted Trump to threaten Turkey with sanctions if the country went too far in attacking the Kurdish forces. Ankara views the Kurdish fighters, who were vital in driving ISIS out of Syria alongside American forces, as terrorists and has openly expressed its aim to crush their presence in northern Syria. “The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Trump’s statement said Monday. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-15  Authors: natasha turak
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Hundreds of ISIS prisoners are escaping from camps in northern Syria amid Turkish offensive

More than 800 suspected IS detainees escaped the Ayn Issa camp in northern Syria on Sunday, Kurdish forces said in a statement, five days into Turkey’s military incursion into norther Syria. At least 10,000 Islamic State prisoners are in camps across northeastern Syria, according to Kurdish and U.S. officials. As Turkish jets bombard the area, many of the personnel responsible for containing those prisoners are being forced to the front to defend themselves or their families, Kurdish forces say.


More than 800 suspected IS detainees escaped the Ayn Issa camp in northern Syria on Sunday, Kurdish forces said in a statement, five days into Turkey’s military incursion into norther Syria. At least 10,000 Islamic State prisoners are in camps across northeastern Syria, according to Kurdish and U.S. officials. As Turkish jets bombard the area, many of the personnel responsible for containing those prisoners are being forced to the front to defend themselves or their families, Kurdish forces say.
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Hundreds of ISIS prisoners are escaping from camps in northern Syria amid Turkish offensive

DUBAI — Islamic State fighters are seizing a chance to escape and regroup as U.S.-allied Kurdish forces turn their attention from guarding thousands of captive extremists to defending themselves from Turkey’s assault. More than 800 suspected IS detainees escaped the Ayn Issa camp in northern Syria on Sunday, Kurdish forces said in a statement, five days into Turkey’s military incursion into norther Syria. Jelal Ayaf, co-chair of Ayn Issa camp, told local media that 859 people “successfully escaped” the section of the camp holding foreign nationals. He also said attacks were already being carried out by “sleeper cells” that had emerged from inside the camp, which holds IS prisoners, internally displaced persons and families or affiliates of IS fighters. While some escapees could be recaptured, he described the situation in the camp as “very volatile.” CNBC could not independently verify the numbers. At least 10,000 Islamic State prisoners are in camps across northeastern Syria, according to Kurdish and U.S. officials. About 2,000 are foreign fighters and the rest Iraqi and Syrian. As Turkish jets bombard the area, many of the personnel responsible for containing those prisoners are being forced to the front to defend themselves or their families, Kurdish forces say.

‘They are forced to defend their families’

The news comes as the Turkish military expands its offensive into Syria, which began shortly after President Donald Trump announced a U.S. troop withdrawal from the Turkish-Syrian border area and handed responsibility for the area — and the IS fighters within it — to Ankara. Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as a security threat and indistinguishable from a separate Kurdish group that has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey. Trump’s move triggered swift condemnation from Republicans and Democrats for what critics say is leaving the Kurdish forces to fend for themselves alone against a Turkish onslaught aimed at clearing them from the region. The Syrian Kurds suffered heavy losses fighting alongside the U.S. in the counter-IS campaign.

Kurdish forces and activists say more than 100 people have died from Turkish artillery fire and airstrikes, while some 130,000 people have already been displaced, according to the UN. Trump has defended his decision as part of his drive to end U.S. engagement in Middle Eastern wars, but security experts and aid groups warn of an IS revival and a humanitarian disaster. Gen. Mazloum Kobani, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, told NBC News in an interview last week that guarding the IS prisoners in Syria is now a “second priority.” “All their families are located in the border area,” he said of the Kurdish forces normally tasked with securing the detention camps. “So they are forced to defend their families.” “This is a very big problem,” Kobani told NBC. “Nobody has helped in this regard.”

‘IS 2.0′

In a move that highlights the Kurds’ desperation, the Syrian Democratic Forces — the predominantly Kurdish collection of U.S.-backed militia groups that battled IS and have come to govern northern Syria — announced they have struck a deal with the Iranian- and Russian-backed government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. “An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government — whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty — for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression” by Turkey, the Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement Sunday.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-14  Authors: natasha turak
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Russian wealth fund chief points to Saudi Arabia as a precedent for repairing relations with the US

The head of Russia’s $10 billion state investment vehicle is optimistic about repairing relations with Washington, he told CNBC on Sunday, pointing to Moscow’s growing bond with Saudi Arabia as a precedent. He insisted that Russia’s growing investments in and trade with Saudi Arabia should be seen as “building bridges” rather than engaging the strategic competition that many in the West regularly warn about. “Really we are not talking about, you know, the strategic partnerships that Saudi has wi


The head of Russia’s $10 billion state investment vehicle is optimistic about repairing relations with Washington, he told CNBC on Sunday, pointing to Moscow’s growing bond with Saudi Arabia as a precedent. He insisted that Russia’s growing investments in and trade with Saudi Arabia should be seen as “building bridges” rather than engaging the strategic competition that many in the West regularly warn about. “Really we are not talking about, you know, the strategic partnerships that Saudi has wi
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Russian wealth fund chief points to Saudi Arabia as a precedent for repairing relations with the US

The head of Russia’s $10 billion state investment vehicle is optimistic about repairing relations with Washington, he told CNBC on Sunday, pointing to Moscow’s growing bond with Saudi Arabia as a precedent.

Russia isn’t trying to fill a void in the Middle East left by what some describe as an inward-turning America, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (RDIF) told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Riyadh. He insisted that Russia’s growing investments in and trade with Saudi Arabia should be seen as “building bridges” rather than engaging the strategic competition that many in the West regularly warn about.

“Really we are not talking about, you know, the strategic partnerships that Saudi has with the U.S., and what we are doing is not against the U.S. It’s actually building something that is very positive,” Dmitriev said. “And building something that helps Saudi economy, Russian economy — and builds the friendship between our nations.”

The CEO’s comments come at a time of frigid relations between the U.S. and Russia, as the latter remains under U.S. sanctions and has been accused by the U.S. intelligence community of meddling in the 2016 election and posing a continued threat to the presidential election in 2020.

Dmitriev pointed to his country’s blossoming friendship with Saudi Arabia — something that only four years ago was in serious doubt, given the animosity between the two during the Cold War. The last few years, by contrast, have seen the creation of a historic oil production alliance led by Riyadh and Moscow, increased trade and investment, and the first state visit by a Saudi monarch to Russia.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-13  Authors: natasha turak
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Trump defends allowing Turkish offensive against Kurds: ‘They didn’t help us in the Second World War’

“Now the Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday night. “They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, for example.” Trump attributed the points to an article he said he had read, which wasn’t identified, that dismissed the importance of the Kurdish alliance. He said the administration “then cut deal with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan allowing him to wipe them out. After describing the Kurds’ abs


“Now the Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday night. “They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, for example.” Trump attributed the points to an article he said he had read, which wasn’t identified, that dismissed the importance of the Kurdish alliance. He said the administration “then cut deal with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan allowing him to wipe them out. After describing the Kurds’ abs
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Trump defends allowing Turkish offensive against Kurds: 'They didn't help us in the Second World War'

President Donald Trump responds to questions about the U.S. House impeachment investigation during a formal signing ceremony for the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement at the White House in Washington, October 7, 2019.

In the face of growing bipartisan anger, President Donald Trump defended his decision to allow a Turkish offensive in northern Syria by saying that the U.S.-allied Kurds — who led the ground campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and are under Turkish attack — did not help the U.S. during World War II.

“Now the Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday night. “They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, for example.”

Trump attributed the points to an article he said he had read, which wasn’t identified, that dismissed the importance of the Kurdish alliance. He suggested that Kurds had battled alongside U.S. forces for “their land.” “They’re there to help us with their land, and that’s a different thing.”

Many Republicans and Democrats alike would object to that last point. Some 11,000 Kurdish forces died assisting the U.S. in the counter-ISIS campaign in Syria, and high-ranking U.S. diplomats and military officials credit much of the victory over the extremist group to the Kurdish fighters.

Many have described them as the most effective fighting force on the ground, and a reliable ally of the U.S., despite the complications this alliance has caused with NATO ally Turkey. Ankara views the fighters as a security threat on its border because it sees them as indistinguishable from a separate Kurdish terrorist group that is waging a counterinsurgency inside Turkey.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted: “At request of this administration the Kurds served as the primary ground fighters against ISIS in Syria so U.S. troops wouldn’t have to.” He said the administration “then cut deal with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan allowing him to wipe them out. Damage to our reputation & national interest will be extraordinary & long lasting.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., a staunch ally of the president, tweeted on Monday: “The Kurds have fought, bled & died fighting alongside the US. They have been warriors & brothers in battle along the way. POTUS is right to want to end endless wars, but the Turks wiping out the Kurds will ABSOLUTELY NOT be an acceptable outcome after all of that.”

Erdogan has pledged to clear the area of “terrorists,” and says his aim is to allow a path for the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey to go back home. Numerous U.S. officials have cast doubt on that promise.

Turkey pushed ahead by launching airstrikes and artillery fire against the Kurdish forces on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. The Turkish military confirmed it had “launched the land operation into the east of the Euphrates river” and said it had hit 181 “militant targets.”

Activists on the ground say at least seven civilians have been killed. Video footage showed civilians trying to flee as dark plumes of smoke rose on the horizon.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., introduced a bipartisan bill on Wednesday to punish Turkey with sanctions for its “invasion of Syria.” The lawmakers have lambasted Trump’s move, and expect bipartisan support with a veto-proof majority in the Senate.

In response to the Turkish strikes, Trump issued a statement saying that the U.S. “does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.”

After describing the Kurds’ absence on the beaches of Normandy in 1944 and describing the Kurdish fight as one solely for their own land, Trump said, “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-10  Authors: natasha turak
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Turkey’s Erdogan threatens to release millions of refugees into Europe over criticism of Syria offensive

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the extended meeting with provincial heads of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, Turkey, on October 10, 2019. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Europe with a flood of refugees on Thursday if the continent’s leaders call the Turkish invasion of Syria an “occupation.” “We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” Erdogan said while speaking to officials from his ruling AK Party, according to


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the extended meeting with provincial heads of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, Turkey, on October 10, 2019. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Europe with a flood of refugees on Thursday if the continent’s leaders call the Turkish invasion of Syria an “occupation.” “We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” Erdogan said while speaking to officials from his ruling AK Party, according to
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Turkey's Erdogan threatens to release millions of refugees into Europe over criticism of Syria offensive

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the extended meeting with provincial heads of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, Turkey, on October 10, 2019.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Europe with a flood of refugees on Thursday if the continent’s leaders call the Turkish invasion of Syria an “occupation.”

“We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” Erdogan said while speaking to officials from his ruling AK Party, according to Reuters.

A Turkish offensive in northern Syria has been underway since Wednesday, with airstrikes and artillery fire targeting U.S.-allied Kurdish forces on the ground.

The operation began just days after President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement withdrawing U.S. troops from a part of Syria that had been reclaimed in a bloody and drawn-out war between the U.S.-led coalition and the so-called Islamic State. Trump framed his decision as one that would hand the responsibility of containing IS to the Turks.

And late Wednesday, he defended his decision to allow the Turkish offensive by saying the Kurds did not help the U.S. during World War II.

Ground fighting since 2014 against the extremist group was spearheaded by Kurdish forces that made up the bulk of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed organization now tasked with governance of the area and containment of resurgent IS fighters and overcrowded IS prisons. In particular instances, when asked for help in the anti-IS fight, Turkey refused to help the Kurdish forces, which it sees as allies to dissident Kurds in his country.

Erdogan has pledged to clear the area of “terrorists,” and says his aim is to allow a path for the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey to go back home. Numerous U.S. officials have cast doubt on that promise.

Ankara has long vowed to wipe out the Kurdish militia presence along its border in northern Syria, which it views as a security threat and indistinguishable from a separate Kurdish terrorist group that is waging a counterinsurgency inside Turkey.


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Saudi Aramco says full oil production capacity will return by end of November

DUBAI ⁠— Saudi Arabia’s full oil production capacity will be recovered by the end of November, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC on Wednesday. “By September we will be, in terms of production capacity, at 11.3 (million barrels per day), by end of November we will be at 12 million barrels per day (bdp), which is our maximum sustained capacity,” Nasser told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick during the Oil & Money Conference in London. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil. Aramco’s revenues


DUBAI ⁠— Saudi Arabia’s full oil production capacity will be recovered by the end of November, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC on Wednesday. “By September we will be, in terms of production capacity, at 11.3 (million barrels per day), by end of November we will be at 12 million barrels per day (bdp), which is our maximum sustained capacity,” Nasser told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick during the Oil & Money Conference in London. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil. Aramco’s revenues
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Saudi Aramco says full oil production capacity will return by end of November

DUBAI ⁠— Saudi Arabia’s full oil production capacity will be recovered by the end of November, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC on Wednesday.

“By September we will be, in terms of production capacity, at 11.3 (million barrels per day), by end of November we will be at 12 million barrels per day (bdp), which is our maximum sustained capacity,” Nasser told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick during the Oil & Money Conference in London. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil.

The OPEC kingpin has been pumping significantly below that 12 million bpd level as part of a coordinated agreement OPEC and non-OPEC producers to lower output and keep a floor under falling oil prices.

Aramco’s revenues were not reduced in the wake of the attacks, Nasser noted, and put its October production figure at 9.9 million bpd.

The CEO of the world’s largest oil company expressed his concern over an “absence of international resolve” against the perpetrators of September 14 drone and missile attacks on Aramco facilities that forced the company to shut down half of its production and sent crude prices up nearly 20%.

“An absence of international resolve to take concrete action may embolden the attackers and indeed put the world’s energy security at greater risk,” Nasser said.


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US troops begin pullout from along Turkey’s border in Syria, infuriating Syrian Kurds

The Syrian Kurdish fighters also accused Washington of failing to abide by its commitments to its key allies in the fight against IS. He views the Syria Kurdish forces as a threat to his country as Ankara has struggled with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey. IS sleeper cells are already plotting to break free some 12,000 militants detained by Syrian Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria in a “threat to local & international security.” The Kurdish fighters also control the al-Hol camp, home to


The Syrian Kurdish fighters also accused Washington of failing to abide by its commitments to its key allies in the fight against IS. He views the Syria Kurdish forces as a threat to his country as Ankara has struggled with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey. IS sleeper cells are already plotting to break free some 12,000 militants detained by Syrian Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria in a “threat to local & international security.” The Kurdish fighters also control the al-Hol camp, home to
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US troops begin pullout from along Turkey's border in Syria, infuriating Syrian Kurds

Erdogan spoke hours after the White House said U.S. forces in northeastern Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault — essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the yearslong battle to defeat the Islamic State group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, also said American troops have started withdrawing from positions, and a video posted by a Kurdish news agency showed a convoy of American armored vehicles apparently heading away from the border area of Tal Abyad.

There was no immediate confirmation from the White House of U.S. troops clearing positions in areas in northern Syria.

The Syrian Kurdish fighters also accused Washington of failing to abide by its commitments to its key allies in the fight against IS. It’s a major shift in U.S. policy.

U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces said American troops began pulling back Monday from positions along the border in northeast Syria ahead of an expected Turkish invasion that the Syrian Kurds say will overturn five years of achievements in the battle against the Islamic State group.

Erdogan didn’t elaborate on the planned Turkish incursion but said Turkey was determined to halt what it perceives as threats from the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Syria Kurdish forces as a threat to his country as Ankara has struggled with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey.

In the U.S., Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, as the Kurdish-led force is known, said the American pullout began first from areas along the Syria-Turkey border.

“The American forces did not abide by their commitments and withdrew their forces along the border with Turkey,” the SDF said in its statement. “Turkey now is preparing to invade northern and eastern parts of Syria.”

“The Turkish military operation in northern and eastern Syria will have a huge negative effect on our war against” IS, it added.

In an agreement between Ankara and Washington, joint patrols had been patrolling a security zone that covers over 125 kilometers (78 miles) along the border between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. The SDF had removed fortification from the areas, considered by Turkey as a threat, and retreated heavy weapons. Meanwhile, U.S. and Turkish began joint aerial and ground patrols of the area.

But Turkey and the U.S. disagreed over the depth of the zone, with Ankara seeking to also have its troops monitor a stretch of territory between 30 and 40 kilometers deep (19 to 25 miles). Despite the agreement, Erdogan had continued to threaten an attack.

The Kurdish-led fighters have been the main U.S.-backed force in Syria in the fight against IS and in March, the group captured the last sliver of land held by the extremists, marking the end of the so-called caliphate that was declared by IS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014.

“We will not hesitate for a moment in defending our people” against Turkish troops, the Syrian Kurdish force said, adding that it has lost 11,000 fighters in the war against IS in Syria.

A Turkish attack would lead to a resurgence of IS, it said. IS sleeper cells are already plotting to break free some 12,000 militants detained by Syrian Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria in a “threat to local & international security.”

The Kurdish fighters also control the al-Hol camp, home to more than 70,000 including at least 9,000 foreigners, mostly wives and children of IS fighters.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted that since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, “we have supported the territorial integrity of this country, and we will continue to support it.”

He added that Ankara is determined to ensure the survival and security of Turkey “by clearing the region from terrorists. We will contribute to peace, peace and stability in Syria.”

The Syrian Kurdish Hawar news agency and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also say American troops were evacuating positions near the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad on Monday.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-07  Authors: joanna tan, natasha turak
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Trump handing northern Syria to Turkey is a ‘gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS,’ former US envoy says

The Turkish and U.S. troops start their second joint ground patrol within a planned safe zone in northern Syria along the Syrian-Turkish border, in Sanliurfa, Turkey on September 24, 2019. The Trump administration is facing a torrent of criticism Monday after it unexpectedly announced a full U.S. troop withdrawal from northern Syria to effectively allow a long-planned military operation by Turkey against Kurdish ground forces, who had battled to uproot ISIS. “Turkey will soon be moving forward w


The Turkish and U.S. troops start their second joint ground patrol within a planned safe zone in northern Syria along the Syrian-Turkish border, in Sanliurfa, Turkey on September 24, 2019. The Trump administration is facing a torrent of criticism Monday after it unexpectedly announced a full U.S. troop withdrawal from northern Syria to effectively allow a long-planned military operation by Turkey against Kurdish ground forces, who had battled to uproot ISIS. “Turkey will soon be moving forward w
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Trump handing northern Syria to Turkey is a 'gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS,' former US envoy says

The Turkish and U.S. troops start their second joint ground patrol within a planned safe zone in northern Syria along the Syrian-Turkish border, in Sanliurfa, Turkey on September 24, 2019.

The Trump administration is facing a torrent of criticism Monday after it unexpectedly announced a full U.S. troop withdrawal from northern Syria to effectively allow a long-planned military operation by Turkey against Kurdish ground forces, who had battled to uproot ISIS.

“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” a White House statement late Sunday said, noting that President Donald Trump had spoken to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone. “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”

Security experts on the region and former U.S. officials are calling the decision harmful and a gift to America’s adversaries, while some members of the Kurdish forces on the ground in Syria are calling it betrayal.

“The WH statement tonight on Syria after Trump spoke with Erdogan demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of anything happening on the ground,” Brett McGurk, the former U.S. special envoy to the global anti-IS coalition, said Monday on Twitter.

“Trump tonight after one call with a foreign leader provided a gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS.”

Syria’s bloody 8-year long conflict has seen military intervention by numerous world powers including Russia and Iran, without whose help Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad wouldn’t have survived, regional experts say. Washington and Moscow have long condemned each other’s involvement in the country, and the U.S. currently imposes sanctions on Russia for its support of Assad.

McGurk resigned from his position in December after Trump’s shock announcement that the U.S. would withdraw all its forces from Syria, a move that meant abandoning U.S.-allied Kurdish troops who proved vital in the defeat of the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate. Trump later walked back the decision after widespread condemnation from Republicans and Democrats, giving the impression that several thousand U.S. troops would remain in the region to assist its local allies.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-07  Authors: natasha turak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, troops, northern, isis, operation, kurdish, syria, envoy, russia, iran, states, ground, handing, turkey, trump, forces, gift


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Republican allies blast Trump’s decision to hand northern Syria over to Turkey

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a long-planned Turkish military operation is being blasted by lawmakers and security experts in Washington, including Republicans better known for being loyal allies of the president. In a rare attack on Trump’s policies, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., called the move “impulsive” and “a disaster in the making.” “I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view,” Graha


President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a long-planned Turkish military operation is being blasted by lawmakers and security experts in Washington, including Republicans better known for being loyal allies of the president. In a rare attack on Trump’s policies, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., called the move “impulsive” and “a disaster in the making.” “I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view,” Graha
Republican allies blast Trump’s decision to hand northern Syria over to Turkey Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-07  Authors: natasha turak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, trumps, hand, syria, mcconnell, decision, allies, kurdish, win, turkey, northern, iran, american, blast, republican, isis


Republican allies blast Trump's decision to hand northern Syria over to Turkey

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a long-planned Turkish military operation is being blasted by lawmakers and security experts in Washington, including Republicans better known for being loyal allies of the president.

The White House announcement late Sunday night, which says Turkey will take on the role of containing the Islamic State in Syria, is being decried by critics as a win for Iran and ISIS and a betrayal of U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters on the ground who have long been in Ankara’s sites.

In a rare attack on Trump’s policies, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., called the move “impulsive” and “a disaster in the making.”

“I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view,” Graham, a close confidant of Trump’s, told Fox News on Monday morning. “This is a big win for Iran and Assad. A big win for ISIS.”

He also tweeted his concerns, calling the potential policy decision “a disaster in the making.”

The criticism focuses on what many are calling an abandonment of America’s Kurdish allies on the ground in Syria, an organization of militias who spearheaded the fight against ISIS and suffered heavy casualties supporting the U.S. campaign there.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., broke with Trump over the foreign policy shift.

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup,” McConnell said in a statement Monday afternoon.

“I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners. Major new conflict between Turkey and our partners in Syria would seriously risk damaging Turkey’s ties to the United States and causing greater isolation for Turkey on the world stage,” McConnell said.

“As we learned the hard way during the Obama Administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal,” he added.

Turkey views the fighters, particularly the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, as terrorists and a security threat on its southern border and has long expressed its desire to launch an offensive against them. The Turks stress the YPG’s ties to a separatist Kurdish group in Turkey, the PKK, which has carried out a decades-long violent insurgency against the Turkish state.

Turkey already has troops amassed along the Turkish-Syrian border and in January of 2018 attacked Afrin, a Kurdish stronghold in northern Syria, in an offensive that drove hundreds of thousands of Kurds to refugee camps.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-07  Authors: natasha turak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, trumps, hand, syria, mcconnell, decision, allies, kurdish, win, turkey, northern, iran, american, blast, republican, isis


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There’s now a second whistleblower in the Trump Ukraine case

REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstA second whistleblower has come forward with concerns about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The White House did not respond to a CNBC request for comment. House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed the White House for documents they say are central to the investigation. Trump on Saturday attacked the second whistler blower as part of a series of tweets defending himself amid the impeachment inquiry. “The first so-called second hand information ‘Whistleblower’ got


REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstA second whistleblower has come forward with concerns about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The White House did not respond to a CNBC request for comment. House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed the White House for documents they say are central to the investigation. Trump on Saturday attacked the second whistler blower as part of a series of tweets defending himself amid the impeachment inquiry. “The first so-called second hand information ‘Whistleblower’ got
There’s now a second whistleblower in the Trump Ukraine case Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-06  Authors: emma newburger mike calia natasha turak, emma newburger, mike calia, natasha turak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, impeachment, theres, house, trump, state, white, ukraine, second, whistleblowers, request, president, case, whistleblower


There's now a second whistleblower in the Trump Ukraine case

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A second whistleblower has come forward with concerns about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

This whistleblower has first-hand knowledge of allegations listed in a previous whistleblower’s complaint, the lawyer representing this person, Mark Zaid, told ABC News on Sunday.

The previous whistleblower’s complaint triggered an official impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. Zaid works for Compass Rose Legal Group, a law firm that focuses on representing whistleblowers and also represents the first whistleblower.

Zaid said the whistleblower spoke to the intelligence community’s inspector general. The White House did not respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Andrew Bakaj, also an attorney with Compass Rose, confirmed in a statement “that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers.”

“I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” Bakaj tweeted. “No further comment at this time.”

Democrats have accused Trump of abusing power by suggesting in a July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president that the country investigate Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival, and his son Hunter. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the White House’s initial efforts to suppress the contents of the call, as described in the whistleblower complaint, amount to a “cover-up.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that the State Department would comply with Congressional subpoenas and hand over documents as required by law, but criticized the investigation, saying there were “clearly politics” involved. House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed the White House for documents they say are central to the investigation.

Trump on Saturday attacked the second whistler blower as part of a series of tweets defending himself amid the impeachment inquiry.

“The first so-called second hand information ‘Whistleblower’ got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another ‘Whistleblower’ is coming in from the Deep State, also with second hand info,” Trump wrote. “Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!

The president’s reference to “shifty,” or Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, seemed to reference Republican efforts to discredit the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and the first whistleblower.

Trump on Thursday also publicly urged China to investigate Biden, a move that pushed back against critics who argue that such a request is a blatant violation of the presidency. His request to China came as the first witness was interviewed by House investigators as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-06  Authors: emma newburger mike calia natasha turak, emma newburger, mike calia, natasha turak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, impeachment, theres, house, trump, state, white, ukraine, second, whistleblowers, request, president, case, whistleblower


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