Trump Pullout From Northern Syria Could Become Full Blown Nuclear Crisis
As Pentagon officials work to determine how 1,000 U.S. troops remaining in Syria will be safely evacuated, the Departments of State and Energy are working toward the same end for nuclear weapons stored in Turkey, according to The New York Times.
Officials have been “quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border,” the newspaper learned from to U.S. officials.
Those weapons are essentially Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hostages, one official said, but removing them presents at least two issues: flying them out of the country would effectively end the Turkish-American alliance, but leaving them in place “is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.”
“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.
Erdogan also possesses his own nuclear ambitions, The Times noted, saying just a month ago that he “cannot accept” rules barring Turkey from having nuclear weapons.
The situation with American nuclear weapons in Turkey was exacerbated last week when President Donald Trump gave Erdogan the greenlight to invade northern Syria — a long-planned move held off by the presence of American forces.