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Canada Newfoundland veteran afraid for Kurdish fighters in Syria after U.S. troop withdrawal

19:50  12 october  2019
19:50  12 october  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

US to step aside for Turkish assault on Kurds in Syria

  US to step aside for Turkish assault on Kurds in Syria US to step aside for Turkish assault on Kurds in SyriaTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Kurdish forces as a threat to his country. Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

to withdraw U . S . troops from Syria “rattled the world.”CreditCreditErin Schaff for The New York Abandoning the Kurdish allies, the officials argued, also would cripple future American efforts to the consequences of the troop withdrawal , or explain what the American strategy in Syria will be once

The U . S .-backed Syrian Kurdish group urged Moscow to broker talks with the Syrian government in Damascus in light of the Turkish operation. The SDF, which holds thousands of IS fighters in detention facilities in northeastern Syria , has warned that a Turkish incursion might lead to the

a group of people in uniform: Michael Kennedy, centre, was on the front line at the start of operation Wrath of Euphrates, a major offensive to push ISIS from the Iraq/Syria border region. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Michael Kennedy, centre, was on the front line at the start of operation Wrath of Euphrates, a major offensive to push ISIS from the Iraq/Syria border region.

A retired Newfoundland navy veteran who fought ISIS in Syria fears for Kurdish forces in the region following the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

"ISIS can see what's happening. They can see that there's been a significant shift in the situation with the Americans pulling out," former leading seaman Michael Kennedy told CBC News.

Now Turkey has free rein, he said.

"Turkey and the U.S. have had a very strained relationship over the past year with regards to this, with the Americans being in there helping the Kurds."

Canada's failure to repatriate former ISIS fighters and families leading to "inevitable" crisis: experts

  Canada's failure to repatriate former ISIS fighters and families leading to Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria have warned they'll have to limit the guarding of ISIS prisoners as the U.S. prepares to stand aside in the event of Turkish invasion of the region - leavING the fate of dozens of Canadian detainees up in the air.The Trump administration has signalled it is prepared to stand aside in the event of a Turkish invasion of the region, which would be aimed at dislodging the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a U.S. ally in the war against ISIS.

On Wednesday, Americans troops were among the dead after a bombing attack in northern Syria that was claimed by the Islamic State. There are still around 2,000 American troops in Syria , but the attack on Wednesday raised still more questions about their withdrawal from a country in which the

withdrawal of U . S . forces from Syria and Afghanistan.CreditCreditErin Schaff for The New protect our Kurdish partners serving in the Syrian Democratic Forces and prevent armed conflict between The bills prohibit the use of military funds to reduce the number of active-duty troops serving in Syria

After Kennedy retired from the navy in 2016, the St. Lawrence native left Canada to join Kurdish forces fighting the terrorist organization in Syria.

"I went over there just to volunteer after seeing what was happening on the ground, and in our own country," he said, mentioning Canadian soldiers Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent, who were killed in, respectively, Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., both in 2014.

"These things affected my reasoning for going there," he said.

Kennedy says he was also motivated to join the fight to honour his brother Kevin, who was killed by insurgents in Afghanistan in 2007.

After months embedded with the Kurds, Kennedy tried to cross into Iraq to help in the battle for Mosul. He was arrested and held in an Iraqi prison for 10  days, until Canadian diplomats intervened to gain his release.

Canada condemns Turkish military incursion in northern Syria as destabilizing

  Canada condemns Turkish military incursion in northern Syria as destabilizing OTTAWA — Canada has joined its major allies on Wednesday in firmly condemning Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made Canada's position clear in a series of late-afternoon tweets, saying the unilateral action by Turkey risks rolling back the progress against Islamic State militants, also known as Daesh. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made Canada's position clear in a series of late-afternoon tweets, saying the unilateral action by Turkey risks rolling back the progress against Islamic State militants, also known as Daesh.

Turkey launches airstrikes on Syria after U . S . withdrawal . Experts and even some of the president' s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill have blasted Mr. Trump for ordering U . S . troops to withdraw from northern Syria , leaving Kurdish allies who banded with the U . S . in the fight against ISIS to fend for

WASHINGTON — The American military has started withdrawing some equipment, but not yet troops , from Syria as part of President Trump’ s order to wind down that battleground against the Islamic State

Now, he's working a civilian job in Ontario and watching his former comrades in battle again. This time the fight is not only against ISIS, but also the Turkish army, which is moving into the region after American troops pulled out this week.

"Americans have been arming them, co-ordinating air strikes, just supporting them and advising them in the past few years of this conflict — I guess acting like a protective blanket for the Kurds," he said. "Because as long as Americans were embedded with the Kurds, the Turks, which are NATO allies, are not going to attack American positions."

a group of people looking at the camera: Kennedy stands in Manbij village, outside Tel Tamir, Northern Syria, which was assaulted and its population almost completely wiped out by ISIS.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Kennedy stands in Manbij village, outside Tel Tamir, Northern Syria, which was assaulted and its population almost completely wiped out by ISIS.

Reports from Syria already confirm attacks on Kurdish troops and civilians by both ISIS and the Turkish army.

Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII

  Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII When asked whether he felt his treatment of the Kurds sent a poor message to other potential US allies, Trump said, "Alliances are very easy."This came amid reports Turkish ground troops were crossing the border into Syria following airstrikes that began earlier in the day.

Turkey launched a military operation Wednesday against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria after U . S . forces pulled back from the area, with a It also would ignite new fighting in Syria ’ s 8-year-old war, potentially displacing hundreds of thousands. Members of Turkey-backed Syrian National Army

An abrupt US withdrawal would mean abandoning Washington’ s closest ally inside Syria , the Kurdish -led Syrian Democratic Forces, which has done most of the fighting in clearing Isis fighters out of its He added that the US troops in Syria were “vital to our national security interests”.

Kennedy says the U.S. and its allies have betrayed troops that helped them defeat ISIS in the first place.

"To me it was a large stab in the back for the Kurds because they've been the main ally and ground forces fighting against ISIS since 2014," he said.

"And with the way Turkey handles its business politically, over the course of history dealing with the Kurds, there's full villages been wiped out by the Turkish army. It's upsetting."

a group of people posing for the camera: Michael Kennedy, centre, stands with Kurdish comrades on an offensive operation to root ISIS from the Southern Singer mountain region. Also pictured is Chris Ledbetter (far left), a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Michael Kennedy, centre, stands with Kurdish comrades on an offensive operation to root ISIS from the Southern Singer mountain region. Also pictured is Chris Ledbetter (far left), a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

It's especially upsetting for Kennedy, who's still in touch with many of his former Kurdish and foreign volunteer comrades.

"I do still have a lot of friends over there that I served alongside. Many of these cities and towns I've been in. My boots have been on the ground there," he said.

"So it's kind of sad thinking [that] if the Turks push forward, it's going to be a large humanitarian crisis. And I think ISIS will regroup in certain areas and the situation is going to continue to deteriorate," he said.

Charity calls on Ottawa to rescue 25 Canadian kids trapped in Syria

  Charity calls on Ottawa to rescue 25 Canadian kids trapped in Syria TORONTO — At least 25 "innocent" Canadian children are trapped in a refugee camp not far from where Turkey has launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria, an international charity said Thursday as it called on Ottawa to act now to rescue them. Save the Children Canada, which has aid workers on the ground in Syria, said the kids are largely the offspring of Islamic State militants, and some of them are orphans, while others have only oneSave the Children Canada, which has aid workers on the ground in Syria, said the kids are largely the offspring of Islamic State militants, and some of them are orphans, while others have only one parent.

Turkey launched airstrikes, fired artillery and began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday after U . S . troops The decision marked a sudden shift in U . S . policy that essentially abandoned the Syrian Kurds, longtime U . S . allies in the fight against ISIS in Syria .

Hundreds of the 2,000 American troops in Syria are leaving, but new plans will pause the withdrawal before reaching the 400- troop level President Mr. Jeffrey and other United States officials warned that even before an American-backed Kurdish and Arab militia ousted the last extremist fighters from

He knows his Kurdish friends will fight back against the Turks and the extremists, because they're fiercely proud and tough. He supports them because of their basic humanity in a place where the value of human life is often cheap, he said.

a man sitting on a bench: Kennedy, right, in Manbij, Syria, sits alongside good friend and comrade Michael Israel. This was the furthest coalition forces and Kurdish People's Protection Units had pushed into northwest Syria to liberate the villages and eventually the city, which was also a strategic ISIS stronghold. Israel, an American volunteer, was later killed by a Turkish air strike on Kurdish defensive position.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Kennedy, right, in Manbij, Syria, sits alongside good friend and comrade Michael Israel. This was the furthest coalition forces and Kurdish People's Protection Units had pushed into northwest Syria to liberate the villages and eventually the city, which was also a strategic ISIS stronghold. Israel, an American volunteer, was later killed by a Turkish air strike on Kurdish defensive position.

"Once I did arrive on the ground, I was treated with respect. I never wanted for anything while I was there. Little as they had, I was taken care of," he said.

"And they really respected my presence being there to help them. Obviously, we were risking our lives to help them and fight alongside them. They are fighting the good fight."

He says he worries because the Turks have the second-largest military force in NATO, while the Kurds are a militia without air power or tanks.

"If Turkey presses forward with this operation, it's not going to be good for the Kurds. As sad as that is, and as much as it hurts me to say this, they can't win."

Ottawa Kurds calling for action as Turkey attacks northern Syria

  Ottawa Kurds calling for action as Turkey attacks northern Syria Ottawa's Kurdish community is calling for action to stop the Turkish incursion into northern Syria that they say has put their family members and friends in danger. Organizations for Kurds in Ottawa are planning a rally Saturday at the U.S. Embassy to protest President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American forces from the border region, leaving their Kurdish allies behind.Turkish forces began the offence on Wednesday and have continued their offensive against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters. Casualties have continued to climb and thousands of civilians are fleeing the violence.

Wounded Kurdish fighters hold portraits of comrades who were killed while fighting against the Islamic State, during a demonstration against an anticipated Turkish incursion targeting Syrian Kurdish fighters , in front the United Nations building, in Qamishli, northeast Syria , Monday, Oct.

The Turkish operation will ignite new fighting in Syria ' s 8-year-old war, potentially displacing Turkey has been massing troops for days along its border with Syria and vowed it would go ahead with the Turkey launches airstrikes on Syria after U . S . withdrawal . Kurdish official says civilians targeted by

a group of people sitting at a table: Kennedy enjoys a dinner the Kurds planned to welcome him to their unit to aid in the large-scale offensive in 2016 to clear the Iraqi/Syrian border of all ISIS insurgents. The entire unit, made up of westerners from many countries, including Canada, U.S., Germany, England, France and Spain, was invited.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Kennedy enjoys a dinner the Kurds planned to welcome him to their unit to aid in the large-scale offensive in 2016 to clear the Iraqi/Syrian border of all ISIS insurgents. The entire unit, made up of westerners from many countries, including Canada, U.S., Germany, England, France and Spain, was invited.

The Turks continue to push forward in their effort to clear a security zone on their southern border with Syria, moving the Kurds out of the area they now occupy in order to make room to send millions of Syrian refugees home.

Kennedy says while he supports his former comrades in spirit, he can't see himself returning to Syria. He says his family has been through enough with its sons fighting in war zones, and he just wants peace in his own life.

"I'm at a different point in my life where I just want some peace," he said. His family has been through a lot, he said, noting the loss of his brother and his own time in the Iraqi prison.

"I don't think right now, at this point, I would ever go back."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Ottawa halts weapon sales to Turkey after it invades Syria .
The Canadian government has suspended new weapons sales to Turkey as its NATO ally invades northern Syria. Global Affairs Canada confirmed that Ottawa has “temporarily suspended new export permits to Turkey.” Canada joins fellow NATO members Germany and France in pausing military sales to Ankara, as the Turkish army pushes into Kurdish territory in Syria. Airstrikes have already claimed civilian lives, at least one Kurdish politician has been assassinated, and some captured Islamic State fighters may be freed in the melee.

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