Trump betrayed the Kurds?

The US withdrawal from Syria leaves the Kurds vulnerable


Trump threatens Turkey after US troop pullout

President Donald Trump has threatened to destroy Turkey's economy if Turkey goes "off limits" after his surprise decision to pull US forces out of north-eastern Syria.

In a series of angry tweets, Mr Trump defended the move that could open the way for Turkey to launch an attack on Kurdish fighters across the border.

The withdrawal was heavily criticised even by Mr Trump's Republican allies.

Kurdish forces were key US allies in defeating the Islamic State in Syria.

The US has some 1,000 troops across Syria and about two dozen had been pulled out from the border area, according to a senior state department official.

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Has the US abandoned the Kurds in Syria?

By Joe Harker

In the fight against ISIS one of the most important allies to the US have been the Kurds living in Syria.

The Kurdish region of the Middle East includes northern Syria, southeastern parts of Turkey, northern Iraq and northwest Iran.

They have done much of the fighting against ISIS forces, but US withdrawal from the region has opened the door to Turkish intervention.

With the Turks considering the Kurdish militias to be terrorists does the US withdrawal mean an ally has been abandoned?

The Claim:

Sky News reports that US withdrawal from Syria has led to an armed Turkish incursion, which puts the Kurds in the crosshairs.

Now people who have fought alongside the US against ISIS are being abandoned to attack by the Turks, prompting astonishment among even US president Donald Trump's advisers. Senator Lindsey Graham said the situation was a "disaster in the making".

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his aim was to set up a "safe zone" for Syrian refugees living in Turkey and to fight the Kurdish militias based in northern Syria. It would appear that US troops leaving has set the Kurds up to be attacked.

The main Kurdish group described US withdrawal as "a stab in the back" as Trump said the situation was now one for the Kurds, Turks, Russia, Middle East and Europe to figure out for themselves.

Without American troops alongside them the way is clear for Turkish forces to attack Kurdish militias and has been seen as the US betraying an ally, causing others to consider the stability of their relations with the US.

If the Americans are going to leave one of their top allies in the fight against ISIS to the mercy of a country that considers them terrorists then who else might they abandon?

The Counter Claim:

Trump insisted US withdrawal from Syria was not an abandonment of the Kurds, warning Turkey that action he deemed "off limits" would see America "obliterate" the Turkish economy.

He insisted that the US needed to get out of "endless wars" but argued that his "great and unmatched" wisdom would decide what sort of Turkish action would lead to destroying the economy of a NATO ally.

The US line is that Turkey should not do anything they don't consider to be "humane", but an offensive is expected soon.

The BBC notes that a Turkish attack on the Kurds could lead to the release of ISIS prisoners. Thousands of ISIS fighters are being kept in Kurdish run detention centres but an attack by Turkey would mean prison guards would be needed to fight elsewhere.

This is an all round disaster for the US. They are abandoning one ally and threatening another with economic ruin. While Turkey had been angry at American co-operation with the Kurds and relations had deteriorated the situation could now be made even worse.

The Facts:

The US has around 1,000 troops in Syria, with only about two dozen having left as part of American withdrawal.

Turkey wants to resettle 3.6 million Syrian refugees in the area they are moving troops into. The area on the Syrian-Turkish border is under Kurdish control, meaning Turkish operations in the area will almost certainly lead to violence and death.

This is actually the eighth time the US has betrayed the Kurds over the past century.

Russian premier Vladimir Putin and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad are the two who will benefit most from this move, reports CNN. With the US abandoning one ally and threatening another it is making them an unreliable friend in a world where countries are looking for superpowers to support them.

US withdrawal and Turkish intervention will create a power vacuum in the region which will be filled by Russia and Turkey, which had been drawing closer to Putin's government anyway.

Despite Trump's claims, ISIS is not fully defeated. One can imagine how abandoning an ally that had done much of the fighting against the terrorist state would be seen as a chance for them to regain some strength.

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