Mark Esper, US defense secretary, insisted ‘we are not abandoning’ Kurds and that Turkey wasn’t given a ‘green light’

An “impulsive” decision by Turkey to invade northern Syria will further destabilize a region already caught up in civil war, the US defense secretary said on Friday, arguing that the withdrawal of US troops from the border does not mean America has abandoned its Syrian Kurdish allies.

Donald Trump’s decision to pull back troops from the Syrian border region has been widely criticized as a tacit “green light” for a Turkish offensive that intensified on Friday, with air and artillery strikes on Kurdish militia.

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Read More Turkey's 'impulsive' invasion of Syria will destabilize region, says US official

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