President Trump confirmed on Wednesday that he held an unexpected meeting on the sidelines of the NATO gathering in London with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the two leaders discussed Syria.
“We discussed a lot. We had a meeting, unscheduled, but we have already put out a notice. It was a very good meeting, I think,” Trump said during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“We discussed Syria. We discussed the Kurds. We discussed numerous things, and we’re getting along very well. The border and the safe zone is working out very well. And I gave a lot of credit to Turkey for that,” Trump continued.
Trump came under heavy criticism for telling Erdogan in an October phone call that he would remove US troops from northeastern Syria, giving the Turkish military an opening to launch an operation against the Kurds.
The Kurds had been fighting alongside US troops in the effort to rid Syria of the Islamic State militants.
After a week of fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces, Trump announced that Turkey had agreed to a cease-fire.
On Wednesday, Trump said it “is holding very much so and I think people are surprised.”
“Maybe someday they’ll give me credit, but probably not. They’ve been trying to work this out for 100 years. That border is a mess for a long time. We pulled our soldiers out and took over the oil,” Trump said.
The president also said Turkey can guard its own border with Syria.
“And that’s what they’re doing. They can use other countries if they want, if they want to spend the time and energy,” he said. “But this has been a border under siege for many, many decades, and it was time for us to leave, and we left, and it’s been holding very nicely.”