US abandons Kurds who fought ISIS, gives green light to Turkish invasion of Syria
The White House has given the green light to a long-threatened Turkish invasion into a Kurdish-held area in Syria, moving US forces out in an abrupt foreign policy change that will in effect abandon Washington’s longtime military partners who fought ISIS, the Kurds.
The White House statement was released after a phone call between President Trump and Erdogan on Sunday night.
While the US move is a gift to Erdogan’s government, it is seen as a betrayal by the Kurds who have fought alongside US forces for years to defeat ISIS.
US Republican and Democrats had warned such an offensive on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which lost 11,000 troops in the battle against ISIS, could lead to a massacre of Kurds and send a worrying message to American allies across the world.
It has also raised fears of fresh fighting between Turkey and Kurdish forces in Syria’s complex war now the US no longer acts as a buffer between the two sides.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Monday morning that their US partners had already begun withdrawing troops from areas along Turkey’s border.
The SDF spokesman, Mustafa Bali, accused the US of leaving the area to “turn into a war zone”, adding that the SDF would “defend north-east Syria at all costs”.
“We are not expecting the US to protect NE #Syria. But people here are owed an explanation regarding security mechanism deal, destruction of fortifications and failure of US to fulfill their commitments,” he tweeted.
Kurdish sources say they were acting in good faith trying to establish a security mechanism with the US to placate Turkey but now felt that Ankara had been using it as a cover for reconnaissance.