War US to let Turkish forces move into Syria, dumping Kurdish allies - White House reveals policy shift, which follows conversation between Trump and Erdoğan

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Sergeant Lucy
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Julian Borger - October 7, 2019

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 allies, 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 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. Footage aired on Kurdish news agency Hawar purportedly showed US armoured vehicles leaving positions near the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad in the border region.

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”.

A statement from the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, also early on Monday said that Ankara had “supported the territorial integrity of Syria since the beginning of the crisis and will continue to do so … [We are] determined to ensure survivability and security of Turkey by clearing the region from terrorists. We will contribute to bringing safety, peace and stability to Syria.”

The decision represents the latest in a series of erratic moves by Trump, fighting impeachment at home, apparently taken without consultation with, or knowledge of, US diplomats dealing with Syria.

Ruben Gallego, an Iraq war veteran and Democratic congressman from Arizona, tweeted: “Allowing Turkey to move into northern Syria is one of the most destabilising moves we can do in the Middle East. The Kurds will never trust America again. They will look for new alliances or independence to protect themselves.”

In August, the US and Turkey came to an agreement to create a “safe zone” in northern Syria, by which the US-backed Kurdish-led SDF would pull back from the border. Ankara sees the SDF as indistinguishable from Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey and views it as a serious security threat. The safe zone deal was due to forestall a Turkish military offensive.

In the White House statement issued just before 11 pm on Sunday, however, that agreement was not mentioned.


“Today, President Donald J Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey by telephone,” the surprise statement said. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the Isis territorial ‘caliphate’, will no longer be in the immediate area.”

The statement suggested that in return for US acquiescence in a Turkish offensive, Erdoğan had assured Trump that Turkey would take over the detention of Isis militants captured by the SDF, on the battlefield.

The custody of Europeans and other foreign fighters has long been one of Trump’s preoccupations, and he has lambasted European governments for not taking responsibility for their own nationals in Isis ranks.

“The US government has pressed France, Germany, and other European nations, from which many captured Isis fighters came, to take them back, but they did not want them and refused,” the White House statement continued.

“The US will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer. Turkey will now be responsible for all Isis fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial caliphate by the United States.”

Syria experts warned that the US abandonment of the SDF would lead to another, new front in the eight-year Syrian conflict, and could push the Kurds into seeking an arrangement with the Assad regime in Damascus.

Two weeks ago, at the UN general assembly, the US special envoy for the global coalition to defeat Isis, James Jeffrey, stressed that the US had an agreement with Turkey on a safe zone, in recognition of Ankara’s security concerns, that obviated the need for an Turkish incursion.


“We listen to the Turks’ concerns. We try to respond to them when we can,” Jeffrey said. “And we have made it clear to Turkey at every level that any unilateral operation is not going to lead to an improvement in anyone’s security – not Turkey’s, not the people in the north-east, not the people around the world who feel threatened by Daesh [Isis], which is the basic purpose for our US military being in the north-east in the first place.”

Another outcome of the Trump-Erdoğan call is that the Turkish leader is expected to visit the White House next month.


 

RomanesEuntDomus

May contain nuts.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Great, just what we needed, yet another conflict within Syria. This time with that asshat goatfucker from Ankara.
This completely undermines the US as a reliable partner in the middle east. If it's the US' long strategy to abondon the middle east and just let it fight on its own, that's all fine and dandy, but I seriously doubt it.
 

inexplicable ethos

kiwifarms.net
On the one hand, I can't complain too much about pulling US forces out of the Middle East, since we really have no business being there. If the billions we give to Israel and Saudi Arabia aren't enough to secure our interests over there, troops aren't gonna help.

On the other hand, I fucking hate Turkey and we should have just firebombed every part their country within 50 miles of the border to make sure they knew to stay the hell back. Would have saved us and Syria a lot of trouble.
 

BR55

kiwifarms.net
On the one hand, I can't complain too much about pulling US forces out of the Middle East, since we really have no business being there. If the billions we give to Israel and Saudi Arabia aren't enough to secure our interests over there, troops aren't gonna help.

On the other hand, I fucking hate Turkey and we should have just firebombed every part their country within 50 miles of the border to make sure they knew to stay the hell back. Would have saved us and Syria a lot of trouble.
Honestly fuck the Middle East and fuck Syria, Turkey and the Kurds.
And as for the incoming round of hand wringing about our "Long Term Strategy" in Syria let's just dispense with the bullshit.
The "Long Term Strategy" all these NeoLiberals and NeoConservatives want is regime change.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
Because turning Syria into even more of an anarchy plagued hellhole with a 1000 different factions duking it out and dumping a couple million more refugees onto Europe is exactly what we need at the moment.
So fuck the whole thing and fuck the foreign policy "experts" pushing this shit.
Trump could nuke the whole place and then dump anthrax on top of the glass and I wouldn't give a shit.
 

Arm Pit Cream

Down in Pumpkin Hill I gots to find my lost piece
kiwifarms.net
The SDF sucks dick and was never the force Washington made it out to be, but I don't agree with allowing that nutjob Erdogan to prop up his failing economy with the Turk war machine by dividing a broken Middle Eastern nation more.
There will be multiple Afrins, and that will only cause refugees to surge. I don't know how Turkey can achieve their goals without engaging in war with the Kurds.
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Hackallier

kiwifarms.net
So after years of blocking the Syrian army to cross the Eupharates river to prevent them from reclaiming their oilfields, USA is gonna give them to Turkey. I support withdrawing the troops from Syria, but USA should have at least tried to force SDF to unite with the Syrian government.

USA clearly made the decision to give the oilfields to Turkey, rather than have them held by an ally of Iran.
 

Stoneheart

kiwifarms.net
Is it actually likely that the Kurds will throw in with Assad? Would that be the most stable outcome?
maybe. but those Kurds will not give up the fight so easyly, regardless of what Assad does.
they have modern antitank weapons, they have good intel, they just lack good small arms, but iran could fix that.
 
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Human Flesh

Actually an android wearing imitation human skin
kiwifarms.net
maybe. but those Kurds will not give up the fight so easyly, regardless of what Assad does.
they have modern antitank weapons, they have good intel, they just lack good small arms, but iran could fix that.
Iran's gonna have to copy the US's strategy akin to Desert Storm?
 

HumanHive

Human behavior is exceptional behavior.
kiwifarms.net
Reminder that Syria, Iraq, et al were created by the British and French - with no regard for anything, least of all the people living there - out of the remains of the Ottoman Empire. Oh, and Afghanistan? Another success story for the British Empire, who kept it sufficiently fucked up so the Russians couldn't threaten British India.

Why do I bring that up? Well, mostly because the UK and France's Middle Eastern policies became the US's middle eastern policies; which is to say for the past 100 years the region has been fucked up on purpose by foreigners who fuck it up because that's what their predecessor did. Monkey sprayed with water experiment comes to mind. The only way forward is to stop interfering and let politics in the region begin to progress naturally. And if that means Turkish Empire 2: Sick Man Boogaloo; well who gives a fuck? It's always going to be some variety of Islamist dictatorship, better it be one with borders that make sense.
 

Hackallier

kiwifarms.net
I hope they genocide Kurds in the most brutal way possible so America finally has an excuse to withdraw from NATO.
I don't see how they will genocide the Kurds, since they haven't done that even within their own borders. (Unlike they did to Armenians, which Kurds helped them with...)
But I can't wait to hear again the news cycle of people claiming genocide when any single town is taken.
 
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