The Guardian reports:
The White House has given the green light to a Turkish offensive into northern Syria, moving US forces out of the area in an abrupt foreign policy change that will in effect abandon Washington’s longtime military partners, the Kurds.
Kurdish forces have spearheaded the campaign against Islamic State in the region, but the policy swerve, after a phone conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday, means Turkey would take custody of captured Isis fighters, the White House said.
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 New York Times reports:
Turkey considers the Kurdish forces to be a terrorist insurgency, and has long sought to end American support for the group. But the Kurdish fighters, which are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., have been the United States’ most reliable partner in fighting the Islamic State in a strategic corner of northern Syria.
Now, Mr. Trump’s decision goes against the recommendations of top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department who have sought to keep a small troop presence in northeast Syria to continue operations against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and to act as a critical counterweight to Iran and Russia.
Administration officials said that Mr. Trump spoke directly with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on the issue on Sunday. And the officials indicated that the 100 to 150 United States military personnel deployed to that area would be pulled back in advance of any Turkish operation but that they would not be completely withdrawn from Syria.
Trump released big statement late Sunday on US allowing Turkey into the safe zone in northeast Syria. Turkey wants to go in to attack the Kurds there, who are close partners with the US military & are critical in fighting ISIS. US mil & senior State officials have opposed this. pic.twitter.com/LyX7TSJglW
— Edward Wong (@ewong) October 7, 2019
Trump is giving the go-ahead for Turkey to invade Northern Syria, where the Syrian Kurds, loyal US allies, fought bravely, turned the tide against ISIS, and believed the United States and Trump’s promise to have their back. Many will die. America’s betrayal won’t be forgotten. https://t.co/z4ZbdsafHi
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) October 7, 2019
The WH statement tonight on Syria after Trump spoke with Erdogan demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of anything happening on the ground. The “United States” is not holding any ISIS detainees. They are all being held by the SDF, which Trump just served up to Turkey. pic.twitter.com/vYr7j0q6mR
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 7, 2019
kurdish sequence of events very ugly, stinks of betrayal. Kurds working with Americans, based on an agreement, had recently pulled their defenses away from Turkish border, only to wake up this am to hear Trump gave Turkey greenlight to invade.
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) October 7, 2019
With not one but two Trump Towers in Turkey, it begs the obvious question: is Trump abandoning Kurdish allies and leaving them to a dire fate because he thinks it’s in the US national interest, or because he fears the consequences to Trump Org profits if he alienates Turkey? https://t.co/GIAKKCPvyQ
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) October 7, 2019
There’s a major Trump property in Turkey. Imagine what would be said if Biden’s 3rd cousin rented a room in Istanbul and he took the kind of action Trump took tonight https://t.co/MRsfGqMtK8
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) October 7, 2019
May 2018: Kurds were peacefully protesting in front of Turkey’s Embassy in DC—the day Erdogan visited Trump at the WH. Erdogan’s thugs beat them on US soil. And now, Turkey is invading Syria…with Trump’s consent, a day after they announced his 2nd visit.pic.twitter.com/sJcEHGxJKI
— Trinity Resists (@TrinityResists) October 7, 2019