Turkey Invades Syria as Trump Pull US troops 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Alex Wong/Getty Images


We ran the numbers: There are 1312 news articles covering this topic. 16% (206) are left leaning, 37% (491) center, 47% (615) right leaning.

On Sunday, President Trump announced that he is withdrawing troops from the Syria-Turkey border. Left-leaning news sources tend to question the wisdom of Trump’s decision to withdraw the troops, while right-leaning sources, while right-leaning sources particularly emphasize that Trump’s decision is a departure from the GOP. Centrist media tend to focus on the implications of the troop withdrawal on the ongoing war in Syria. American forces on the border have previously served to maintain the peace between Turkish forces and a Kurdish-led militia alliance that the US relies on to fight against ISIS. Turkey considers the Kurdish alliance in Syria to be a terrorist group and an extension of the Kurdish rebel group in Turkey. The US troop withdrawal opens the door for Turkey to attack the Kurdish alliance forces.

Left-leaning coverage from the Washington Post focuses on questioning Trump’s motivations for withdrawing American troops. The article notes that Trump has ongoing business interests in Istanbul and has had a close relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The article claims that “The Trump administration’s unusual relationship with Erdogan has been an undercurrent from its outset,” noting that former national security advisor Michael Flynn was working for the Turkish government during the 2016 election. The article argues that Trump’s close ties to Turkey are in part why he chose to give the country free rein in northern Syria, likely at the expense of the Kurds.

Trump’s decision has received significant pushback from Republicans, which was the focus of Fox News’ coverage. In particular, a Fox News article notes that Trump’s initial decision in December 2018 to begin removing troops from Syria prompted the resignation of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and then-national security advisor John Bolton. Other right-leaning sources focus on pushback from other GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham, both of whom tend to defend Trump’s decisions.

Centrist coverage from NPR focuses more sharply on the foreign policy implications of the troop withdrawal, noting that Americans’ departure will leave ethnic minorities in northern Syria at risk of ethnic cleansing. The article also notes that the situation is similar to the US withdrawing troops from Iraq too early, which led them to concede some control to Iran. Furthermore, the article reports that Trump has implied that he would not view fighting ISIS as a priority unless the terrorist group poses a direct threat to the US.