The Trump administration’s decision to immediately withdraw U.S. forces from the Syrian border and allow Turkish troops to invade is not merely the abandonment of the West’s Kurdish allies, but a warrant for ethnic cleansing.
>> Election results are in. Subscribe now – save 30%
Trump’s mind was apparently made up after a telephone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Trump’s press secretary then released a statement which read, "Turkey will soon be moving forward with its planned operation into northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and the United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial "caliphate," will no longer be in the immediate area."
And with those words, the White House washed its hands of the fate of Syria’s Kurds and the future of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish forces who lost thousands of soldiers while fighting to defeat ISIS, the scourge of the civilized world.
>> Turkey’s War on the Kurds: Quick Conquest or Quagmire? >> Trump Made a Fatal Error. Turkey Is Incapable of Taking on ISIS, Even if Erdogan Wanted To
The rise of ISIS was made possible by Ankara’s inaction when, from 2013-14, hordes of international militants, fanatics and psychopaths, not to mention truckloads of weapons, crossed Turkey’s border into Syria, on the so-called Jihadi Highway.
– Brett McGurk tweet
As noted, Turkey foreclosed any serious cooperation on ISIS even as 40k foreign fighters flowed through its territory into Syria. Our partnership with the SDF was borne of necessity and soon grew to a force of 60k Syrians: Arabs, Kurds, Christians. It lost 11k fighting ISIS.
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 9, 2019
Now, the U.S. is handing over ISIS duties to Turkey. However, it is doubtful whether the West’s fair weather friend has either the willingness or the competence to take effective control over rowdy jails overcrowded with battle-hardened ISIS prisoners, desperate to escape and re-establish their medieval empire.
Before Trump’s decision, the U.S. and Turkey had agreed to establish a security corridor, a "safe zone" inside the Syrian-Turkish border. The U.S. wanted the zone to be just a few kilometers inside of Syrian territory along a 480km border stretch with Turkey. However, Ankara insisted it be a full 30km deep, and was incensed by U.S. foot-dragging. Turkey threatened unilateral action – and Trump rolled over.