Trump orders US troops to withdraw from Northern Syria

While the US had long relied on the Kurds to battle ISIS, the president essentially gave Turkey the green light to clear the Kurds out of the area as Turkey considers them terrorist insurgents.
4:18 | 10/07/19

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Transcript for Trump orders US troops to withdraw from Northern Syria
trump and the new backlash this evening after his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. Troops from a key border area of Syria, abandoning kurdish soldiers and who now hold thousands of ISIS prisoners. We were on the ground on the front lines in Iraq near the Syrian border just weeks ago. The fight against ISIS fighters still raging. And we were given access to icy prisons in Syria. With U.S. Prisons in Syria, who keltell helped the kurds keep them in prison? ABC's Martha Raddatz leading us off. Reporter: Tonight, the first images of amen forces withdrawing from positions in northern Syria. This U.S. Post now a ghost town after orders from president trump to leave behind the kurdish forces we have long relied on to battle ISIS. Instead, siding with Turkey. Why are you siding with an authoritarian leader and not our kurdish allies? I'm not siding with anybody. Syria was supposed to be a short-term hit. Just a very short-term hit and we were supposed to be in and out. We want to bring our troops back home. Reporter: The u.s.-backed Syrian kurds have lost tens of thousands of soldiers in that fight. Just a year ago, president trump saying he would not forget their sacrifice. They fought with us, they died with us, they're great people and we don't forget. I don't forget. Reporter: But now, the president is abandoning them. Essentially giving the green light to Turkey to clear the kurds out of northern Syria. Trump making that decision after a call from Turkey's president, who considers the kurds terrorist insurgents. Just weeks ago, David was on the front lines with U.S. Forces in Iraq, not far from the Syrian border, where the fight against ISIS is still very much alive. ABC news obtaining images of a strike on ISIS fighters. Reporter: This is where they've retreated to? We found them because they got up and moved. They went over to another location to pull some weapons out. When they went back into their bed-down location, then we were able to go ahead and conduct a strike on them. Reporter: Without the kurds, the Pentagon fears a resurgence of ISIS. The refugee camps in Syria are also under kurdish control, filled with ISIS fighters, where some children now celebrate the ISIS flag. ISIS flags inside that camp? That's right. They raised an ISIS flag, children were dancing around the flag toll. It's a legitimate concern that this is becoming a breeding ground. Absolutely. Reporter: Tonight, the president's move sparking anger on capitol hill, including from some of the president's strongest supporters. Senate majority leader, Mitch Mcconnell, saying "It would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups Lindsey graham calling trump's decision "Irresponsible." If we abandon them, good luck getting anybody to help America in the future with radical Islam, Al Qaeda and ISIS. Reporter: And former U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, saying of the kurds, "Leaving them to die is a big mistake." President trump, aware of growing concern, is also warning Turkey tonight in a tweet, saying that "If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom consider to be off-limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey." And so let's get to Martha Raddatz, with us live tonight. You and I were talking about those prisons. ABC news was given access in Syria, where they hold thousands of ISIS fighters. You'll remember one fighter who told us, if he was released, he'd rejoin ISIS and kill Americans. And Martha, your military sources telling you what they told me, they're very concerned about those prisoners now guarded by the kurds? Reporter: They are, David. There is great concern about those ISIS prisons. A senior official saying that the fear that some of those 11,000 prisoners could escape and flood the surrounding areas or target the west. There's also concern tonight about withdrawal. One senior official telling me there is initial planning to withdraw all U.S. Forces within 30 days, David, but that could 30 days. All right, Martha Raddatz, thank you. And while the president is

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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