Hussein Malla/ AP
President Donald Trump on Sunday announced that US troops is about to be pulling out of northeastern Syria. The White House said in a late-night statement that the move was prompted by a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Trump, citing the cost of maintaining a existence in the fractured country and Turkey’s desire to intervene in Kurdish-held fields. The country has already been been split in its self-control and a US withdrawal will leave Kurdish militia, Turkish violences, and Syria’s government to scramble for control. Here are all the major players that will be impacted by Trump’s decision. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more narratives.
President Donald Trump on Sunday announced that US troops would soon be pulling out of northeastern Syria, a move that spectators say could put the United States’ Kurdish allies in jeopardy and pave the way for a major Turkish assault.
“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned activity into Northern Syria, ” the White House said in a late-night statement. “The United Country Armed Personnel will not support or be involved in the operation, and United Commonwealth powers, having overcome the ISIS territory ‘Caliphate, ‘ will no longer be in the immediate area.”
The statement added that the US questioned its Europeans allies for reinforcement in retrieving foreign ISIS boxers from maintaining in Syria but “they did not want them and refused.”
“The United Government will not comprised them for what could be many years and great cost to the United Commonwealth taxpayer, ” the White House said, adding that Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the last two years.
Here are all the major players that will be impacted by the decision:
US troops, currently numbering around 1,000 Hussein Malla/ AP
The US partnered with Syrian Kurdish fighters in 2015 after Islamic State activists confiscated self-control of approximately a third of northeastern Syria. After a four-year military operation, the last ISIS stronghold in Baghuz, Syria, was overcame in March.
The US has prevented a small number of troops in Syria since then, currently totalling around 1,000, according to The New York Times.
Trump first swam withdrawing American troops from Syria in December, where reference is declared on Twitter: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the course of its Trump presidency.”
The move sparked criticism, and even stimulated former Secretary of Defense James Mattis to resign, citing that the US needed to “show respect” to its allies. He had argued that a US withdrawal would provide Russia and Iran with more influence and force in “the regions countries”.
Trump on Monday morning defended his decision, saying that the US had “quickly overcome 100% of the ISIS caliphate, ” and remaining in the region and imprisoning “thousands of ISIS fighters” came at a great cost to the US.
“I held off this fight for virtually 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL Oppose WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN, ” he wrote in a series of tweets.
He continued: “We are 7000 kilometers away and will mash ISIS again if they come anywhere near us! “
Republicans and former US officials slammed the move, saying the withdrawal was “shortsighted and irresponsible” and put US allies in danger.
Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurds Thomson Reuters
The Syrian Democratic Forces, also known as the SFD, are the United States’ main allies in the region and have been fending off Islamic State activists for years.
The partnership began in 2014, after ISIS activists surrounded the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria, which lies along the Turkish border. Seeking to prevent the attack, the US began arming and training secular Syrian Kurdish militia while providing aerial reinforcement, which proved to be a successful strategy.
The group at the time called itself the YPG and was tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, which have all along been fought an armed conflict for Kurdish independence against Turkey. The party has been listed as a terrorist organization by NATO, the US, UK, Japan, and the EU, and Turkey has expressed concern for the US decision to arm a longstanding enemy.
At the suggestion of the US, the YPG rebranded itself as the Syrian Democratic Forces( SDF ), teaming up with other Arab and minority militias in the region. The SDF, led by Kurdish forces-out , now controls a sizeable swath of region in northeastern Syria.
The group has fought alongside the US for several years in the fight against Islamic extremism in the region. It now says it feels revealed by Trump’s decision to withdraw its troops.
“This military operation in northeast Syria will have a great negative effect on our struggle against the ISIS organization and will destroy all that has been achieved in terms of stability over the last year, ” the group said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
The group added that it would “not hesitate for one instant to defend ourselves, ” against what it called “Turkish aggression” on its homeland.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF, wrote on Twitter on Monday that Trump’s decision would “ruin the trust and cooperation” built between the group and US troops.
” #SDF is committed to the security mechanism framework and has been taking necessary steps to preserve stability in the region, ” he wrote. “However we will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attempt by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire perimeter to DEFEND ourselves and our people.”
What lies ahead for the SDF remains unclear, as the rest of Syria is controlled by either hostile Syrian government forces, other opposition groups, or Turkish forces-out. Last month, a UN committee tasked with rewriting the Syrian constitution excluded meaningful input from Kurdish forces.
And while the US has supported the movement militarily, it has avoided supporting the group politically in order to subdue strain with Turkey.
The Turkish armed forces Osman Orsal/ Reuters
As of Monday, it remained unclear when Turkish forces would actually cross into northeastern Syria.
Turkey’s motivation for attacking northeastern Syria stems from its longstanding conflict with the PKK. According to The New York Times, Turkey has closely watched the expansion of the SDF along its southern border and fears that they could pose a security threat in the future.
These concerns stimulated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call Trump on Sunday and discuss his plans for an incursion.
Turkish violences occupy a small area in northwestern Syria since 2016. Turkey has referred to the area as a “Safe Zone.”
Turkey likewise wants to be able to create a space inside Syria where it can transfer two million Syrian refugees currently being housed in Turkey. According to Reuters, Turkey appears to be immediately focused on expanding to a currently Kurdish-controlled field between the towns of Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad. A US official told Reuters that US violences had stepped down from observation posts there.
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