It was a genuine surprise when the information that the United States was going to “rapidly” pull out of Syria was leaked. President Trump stated that “ISIS has been defeated,” which is a point of disagreement with nearly everyone on both sides. But the State Department is reportedly evacuating all personnel within 24 hours, according to Reuters.
After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home! pic.twitter.com/xoNjFzQFTp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
“We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign…The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support.” Sarah Sanders, WH Press Secretary
Question: What’s the next phase of this campaign?
The decision to pull out immediately came after President Trump spoke with Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan, although no one is saying that the pullout was even discussed.
Meanwhile, the Kurds, and other normally pro-US Syrians were blind-sided by the announcement and are seriously worried.
Ofc everything is always about America all the time, but worth pointing out that a lot of ordinary Syrians living in places in east and northeast Syria are terrified that either Assad or ISIS will be back after US leaves. Not that fate of Syrians ever mattered to US policymakers.
— Kareem Shaheen (@kshaheen) December 19, 2018
“Everyone is confused and scared. This will mean that Turkey will likely attack us. We are in shock because we thought the U.S. would help us achieve peace after ISIS. We didn’t think that they would help us defeat the terrorists and then leave us alone to face the horror of Turkish forces and its extreme factions. Now people are thinking to displace themselves from their homes here again, but nobody knows where a safe place to go is.” Mazloum Kurdy, a 33-year-old father and teacher from Kobane to Fox News
The US presence in Syria with the Kurds has been a giant sticking point with NATO member Turkey, since they view the Kurds as terrorists linked to the PKK. They have often threatened to attack them even though the US forces have been embedded with them. Russia also has threatened the coalition called the US-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), saying that there are terrorists in the group.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly tried to dissuade President Trump from this decision. Apparently, that didn’t work.
There are roughly 2,000 US troops in Syria. Reuters reported the timetable for withdrawal as between 60 and 100 days. Other media are saying that they can get out in a month.There may be something else going on here that we don’t see in all the fluff-up on all sides. Erdogan and Assad, as well as Russia and Iran view this as a win. What happens next?