The president of the United States, Donald Trump, said Thursday that he allowed Turkish and Kurdish forces to face off in a deadly battle because the two sides were like children who needed to fight each other.
"What I did was unconventional. I said they are going to have to fight a little," Trump said in a concentration of supporters in Texas.
"Like two children in a lot, you have to let them fight and then you separate them."
"They fought for a few days and it was quite cruel."
Trump unleashed the week-long Turkish offensive against the Kurds by withdrawing US troops from northeastern Syria.
According to the war monitor of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 500 people have died, including dozens of civilians, mostly from the Kurdish side, and 300,000 civilians have been displaced within Syria.
Trump stressed that "not a single drop of American blood was spilled."
On Thursday, Turkey, after talks with US Vice President Mike Pence, agreed to suspend its offensive and end the assault if Kurdish-led forces withdraw from a safe area along the border.
"We went there and said we want a break, and the Kurds have been great. They're going back a little," Trump said.
"We're going to keep ISIS (the Islamic State group) nice and locked up. We're going to find more of them, and Turkey is ready."
Trump has faced accusations even from generally loyal supporters that his withdrawal of 1,000 US troops betrayed the Kurdish militants who carried the brunt of the fight against the Islamic militant state in recent years.
Brett McGurk, former presidential special envoy for the anti-IS coalition, described Trump's comments about "two children" fighting as "obscene and ignorant."
"200 thousand innocent people displaced. Hundreds of dead. Credible reports of war crimes. Escaping from ISIS prisoners. United States evacuating and bombing their own positions or delivering them to Russia. Two children in one lot?" He said on Twitter.