Gulnur Aybet, a senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has told CNN that President Donald Trump knew “precisely” what his government had planned with its invasion of northern Syria.
Per CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Aybet told reporter Christiane Amanpour that “President Trump and President Erdoğan have reached an understanding over precisely what this operation is,” referring to the Turkish military’s incursion into northern Syria.
Aybet then went on to say that Trump and Erdoğan are planning to meet next month to discuss further details of the operation, including what to do about captured Islamic State fighters that remain in northern Syria.
Trump on Wednesday tried to distance himself from the Turkish military operation and he released a statement saying that it was a “bad idea.” However, Aybet expressed bewilderment at this because “he knows what the scope of this operation is.”
The New York Times reports that Turkey on Wednesday began a military operation aimed at taking out a militia that the United States has backed in its fight against Islamic State. Other reports have claimed that civilians have started fleeing Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, two border towns that are being targeted by Turkish airstrikes.
Multiple Republican officials, most notably top Trump defender Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on Wednesday strongly condemned the president’s actions.