United States begins withdrawal of remaining troops from northern Syria
By: Jake Geiger | Staff Writer
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a commitment to the White House that his forces will stay out of Kurdish controlled parts of northern Syria.
This commitment comes after Syrian government forces returned to northern Syria following an agreement with Kurdish forces to repel the Turkish invasion. Earlier last week, President Donald Trump ordered a withdrawal of the remaining U.S. troops from the northern border.
Turkey began its invasion on Oct. 9, resulting in 130,000 Kurdish refugees being displaced from their homes. Kurdish forces sustained an estimated 12,000 casualties, according to Fox News. Turkey only sustained eight casualties during this operation, which it coined Operation Peace Spring.
The U.S. became involved in this regional conflict in 2014 by joining an international coalition and conducted airstrikes to combat ISIS. This eventually led to building U.S. military bases in Syria.
American armed forces fought in cooperation with a Kurdish militia to force ISIS out of northern Syria. During the campaign the Kurdish militia gained governance of the recaptured land.
Currently, the Kurdish control about 11,000 captured ISIS prisoners.
Xavier veteran Franklin Ebersole, a former Marine Corps rifleman who was deployed five times during his five year enlistment, expressed concern about the U.S. withdrawal from the border on moral and strategic grounds. “Morally, leaving the Kurds stranded shows a lack of determination to help and shows future potential allies could be less inclined to help us,” Ebersole said. “President Trump should have stayed to defend the Kurds and have our presence in that area.”
With the U.S. withdrawing from the area and moving down towards the southern part of Syria, more damage could be done in northern Syria if Turkey decides to push further inland toward Syria’s oil fields. United States Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke on Monday about a possible resolution regarding the withdrawal of U.S. armed forces.
“Pleased to have a conversation with Sen @LindsyGrahamSC this morning. Our first order of business was to agree that we must have a bipartisan, bicameral joint resolution to overturn the president’s dangerous decision in Syria immediately,” Pelosi tweeted
“I was part of a phone call yesterday between President Erdogan and President Trump where President Trump received a commitment from the President of Turkey to stay away from the Kobani area to prevent further escalation in Syria,” Graham tweeted yesterday.
On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted a statement that an Executive Order would be coming and additional sanctions would be ordered on “those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, repatriating refugees or threating the peace, security, or stability of Syria.”
“There is no winner in this, and everyone is losing. The biggest loser in all this though, is the Kurdish people,” Ebersole said. “A lot of Kurds could die, but other than that, it is impossible to currently tell what will happen next.”
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