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"chairman joint chiefs staff" Discussed on C-SPAN Radio

C-SPAN Radio

10:26 min | 1 year ago

"chairman joint chiefs staff" Discussed on C-SPAN Radio

"Officials say they can't quite the Turkish army and guard ISIS prisoners at the same time they say more than seven hundred isis supporters escape from the camp just this weekend as far as the US position goes they threaten sanctions but not enforce any financial sanctions as of yet the Kurds some leaders say they're deeply disappointed the US they feel like an ally has stabbed in the back there's still hope for U. S. no fly zone Chris back to you adding live from Syria Steve thank you joining us now the secretary of defense mark as performers first Sunday show appearance Mister secretary welcome to fox news Sunday Chris thank you had me on today I have to assume you're just as distressed as I am by hearing Steve Harrigan reports stories that Turkish backed militias are executing civilians and Kurdish fighters reports that the Turks are hitting prisons and that hundreds of either ISIS fighters or their supporters are escaping how much of that can you confirm it's terrible I've heard the same reports it gets worse by the hour Chris these are all the exact things that we have communicated to present wanted his ministers I spoke to my counterpart a few days ago I sent in a memo on Friday night in rough and the response I want them that if they do this incursion which we oppose we will see everything from the release of ISIS prisoners TI humanitarian catastrophe damage US relations with Turkey they're staying in a to all this is playing out exactly as we predicted and we get an urge present want to stop and go back to the status quo ante so what is the US what is the Pentagon as the primary the military force they are going to do about it what he could do to stop this well this is part of the terrible situation in Turkey has put us and and again despite our protestations we now know we believe that the the Turks now intend to go further south than originally expected and to go both west and East which would increase their zone from beyond the thirty color depth and nearly four hundred forty kilometers wide at the same time we've learned last twenty four hours and it looks like the STF is cutting a deal with the Syrians and Russians out which is a rescue it does or the service a Syrian democracy forces defense forces that's right they're cutting a deal and now what we're facing is US forces in a trap between a strain Russian army moving north to take on that the Turkish army with that is moving south it puts us in a terrible position and this the protection safety of our service members comes first may I spoke with the national security came yesterday we we all talked on the phone I talked to the president and he is concerned and so last night he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of US forces from the northern part of Syria Syria doubt it how many people are we talking about how quickly they gonna move out we're talking a lesson a thousand I can give it time line because it changes hourly we want to make sure we do so in a very safe deliberate manner that we do conflict that things as we go with with with with those folks on the ground in the immediate area but I'm not quite sure I understand so the Turks and their militias are committing atrocities against the Kurds who our allies the courage asking us for help but we're gonna play loud and allow the courage to go to the Russians and the Syrians that doesn't seem to make much sense yes this first one is that the forces on hand to to stop an invasion of cookie that is fifteen thousand strong if you will preceded by air strikes and artillery and and mechanized forces keep in mind too that we didn't sign up to to fight Turkey a long standing NATO ally on behalf of the STF again this is a terrible situation that's why in in that little over two months I've been on the job this is probably been the number one issue that I've dealt with week after week with our Turkish counterparts we've done everything we can to dissuade them from doing this we were met and we thought we were making very good progress on the so called safety zone in northern Syria way to keep the forces separated and to ensure we can keep both these good partners at odds ends but as you know Chris this conflict has its roots and goes back two hundred years and in fact in the in the last two years since we began this relationship with the with the currents to take on ISIS the the Turks protests it from the beginning this is now the third incursion into Syria in the last two years to do this I'm a size on Friday we stand by a Kurdish allies who who frecuentes died eleven thousand of them died in the fight against ISIS also on Friday not the band in the Kurds be clear about that we had not abandoned and nobody green lighted this operation by Turkey just the opposite we push back very hard at all levels the church not to commence this operation but secretary as per the US has fifty special operations forces along the border acting as a trip wire if you will to keep the Turks from coming across the border we with the protection for the courage after president trump talked to president Adam on last Sunday president trump decided to pull those troops out and the Turks invaded isn't that the definition of abandoning the car yeah I think you get the sequencing in the reverse order the first thing we understood I've understood from my counterparts arctic Pantera from his instantly from present one is they were fully committed to doing this regardless of what we did we thought was put it was my recommendation I know the term of the joint chiefs of staff agreed as well we should not put US forces in between a Turkish advance we're talking less than fifty more like two dozen there's no way they could stop fifteen thousand Turks from proceeding south but you had talked to the if your counterpart the Turkish defense minister several days before the presidential phone call and you had said to him make let's make the safeties on rock where the trucks in the US work together to keep this broader and keep the talks on one side of the border and the courage and the other side of the border then the president has his phone call with president to one and if you set up with another we could do one did everyone say I'm gonna come in anyway yes Sir now than it was clear to me that present are on this committee coming and he informed us that he was coming and he didn't ask permission he it was clear to me that he was coming in but do you think that with fifteen US troops on the border acting as a as a trip wire and with the US complete air superiority over the border do you really believe that president of the one of the trucks we're going to just come through the border put it in perhaps create a conflict with the United States if we had stood firm well I think it's it's how you define standing from first of all as I said fifty service members are not going to stop a Turkish advance and I'm not one to finish to classify them as a trip wire and sacrifice and if you will it didn't give me always pleasant of Turkey goes ahead Sir if Turkey did says you know we're not gonna take on the US when I could take on US fighters of Brad maybe we will stop I I don't believe so I think they were fully committed that was what I took from my conversations with my counterpart the chairman joint chiefs staff took from his sector Pompeii from his but the fact is also Chris we are not going to go to war another one the Middle East against a Turkey which is a long standing NATO ally this spot alongside us from Korea all the way to Afghanistan that's not we signed up for the do they seem like much of an ally now Turkey no I think that Turkey they're they're the ark of their behavior over the past several years has been terrible I mean they are spinning out of the with the western or but if you will we see them purchasing Russian arms coming up to president Putin we see them doing all these things that frankly I concern us that in with about the direction they were heading but you say they the concerns as the the root reaction is that the president is going to pull our troops out of that region and although he has talked about sanctions and authorized as secretary minu chin to impose sanctions there's been no action well we'll see what happens you know I like I said this all these developments have happened the last twenty four X. more like the last forty eight hours if you will the national security team will be talking today about is we still have been holding out hope that we can get one in town to stop what he's doing return to the border and let's work on the safeties on them the mechanism those talks are still by the way under way right now we want to get to that point and settle the situation down stabilize it we get back on the right path and in meanwhile what do you say to the head of the estate our allies the people who fought and died to help us beat ISIS now saloon combining the the head of the Kurdish armies sad today you are leading us to be slaughtered what do you say to him Sir I I would say what we've been saying because we stay in contact with and we're doing everything we can to get the talks to stop this egregious behavior get them go back across the line and stop and that's our message them if that this point in time president trump says that he is just keeping a campaign promise areas we want to bring our troops back home and I got elected on that if you go back and look at our speeches I would say we want to bring oops back home from these endless wars but while we are in the process of pulling troops Italy's back in Syria and maybe not out of the serial that the president has talked about that you just announced on Friday the president is going to send another eighteen hundred troops into Saudi Arabia so are we trying to get out of the Middle East are we trying to get out of the endless wars are not well we do have the aspiration to relocate our forces to to move back in certain regions of the world so that we can re position them to deal with the real strategic challenges we face that is number one China and number to Russia in this case with the wrong we know that the malign behaviour the last forty years continues to create instability throughout the entire Middle East to include more than Syria so in that regard we want to make sure we have sufficient forces on the ground first to to help defend our partners Saudi Arabia and the UAE and and secondly to deter further ET Ronnie and provocative behavior that could lead to a conflict we're not looking to a conflict in the Middle East and and not with Iran but as I said to them they should not mistake our restraint for weakness if they do and do something that would strike our interests are allies we we will respond I.