U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS News that Turkey decided to send ground troops into northern Syria despite Washington urging Ankara to reconsider, and that the fighting put U.S. forces in an untenable situation.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday (October 13) told CBS News that the Pentagon was withdrawing American forces from northern Syria as Turkish forces attacked the area against Washington's wishes.
"Despite our opposition, they decided to make this incursion into Syria, and at this point in time, in the last 24 hours, we learned they likely intend to expand their attack further south that originally planned, into the west," Esper told CBS anchor Margaret Brennan on the network's Face the Nation morning program.
Esper also said they learned that Syrian Kurdish forces were looking to cut a deal to gain support from the Syrian government and Russia, in hopes of counter-attacking.
"We find ourselves, we have American forces likely caught between two opposing, advancing armies, and it's a very untenable situation," Esper said.
The defense chief said that President Donald Trump directed him to begin "a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria."