Trump says Kurds ‘not angels’, dubs PKK ‘worse than ISIL’

US President Donald Trump has hailed his surprise decision to withdraw US troops from Syria as “strategically brilliant”, declaring that the Kurds were “not angels”.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Trump said the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long armed campaign against Ankara, were “probably” a bigger “terrorist threat” than the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) armed group.

“Now the PKK, which is part of the Kurds, as you know, is probably worse at terror, and more of a terrorist threat in many ways than ISIS,” he said referring to the group which has been designated a terrorist group by the US, EU and Turkey.

“I’m not going to get involved in a war between Turkey and Syria, especially when, if you look at the Kurds, and again I say this with great respect, they’re no angels,” he added.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), was founded in 2015 and has helped the United States in its fight against ISIL.

Ankara says its military operation is against the YPG, which it considers a “terrorist” group.