US troops have begun withdrawing from positions in northern Syria, paving the way for a Turkish operation against Kurdish fighters in the border area.
Kurdish-led forces have until now been a key US ally in Syria, where they helped defeat the Islamic State group, but Turkey regards them as terrorists.
The main Kurdish-led group called the surprise US move a “stab in the back”.
But President Donald Trump defended the withdrawal, saying it was time “to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars”.
The pullout represents a significant shift in US foreign policy and goes against the advice of senior officials in the Pentagon and state department. The White House said on Sunday US troops were stepping aside for an imminent Turkish operation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey’s aim was to combat Kurdish fighters in the border area and to set up a “safe zone” for Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.