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Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn’t help the US in WWII

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to abandon the Kurds to a Turkish military incursion in Syria by saying they didn’t help the US during World War II.

This came amid reports Turkish ground troops were crossing the border into Syria following airstrikes that began earlier in the day.

“They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy,” Trump said of the Kurds. He added, “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds.”

The Trump administration on Sunday abruptly announced the US was withdrawing troops stationed in northeast Syria ahead of a Turkish operation. The move has been broadly condemned in Washington, including by top congressional Republicans and former Trump administration officials, as many feel Trump paved the way for Turkey to go after key US allies.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) bore the brunt of the US-led campaign against ISIS, losing roughly 11,000 fighters in the process.

‘Alliances are very easy’

On Wednesday, when asked by reporters whether he felt the Syria retreat and treatment of the Kurds sent a poor message to other potential US allies, Trump said, “Alliances are very easy.” The president said it “won’t be” hard for the US to form new partnerships.

The Kurdish forces had recently dismantled defensive positions along the Turkey-Syria border under assurances from the US it would not allow a Turkish assault.

But the White House late on Sunday made the announcement it was pulling out of northeast Syria,which signaled Turkey was set to move foward with a military operation and that the US would not prevent it. This came after a call between between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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