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Weekend Reads 'We betrayed' the Kurds, US troops express anger at Trump's Syria policy

11:55  15 october  2019
11:55  15 october  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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.

WASHINGTON — President Trump has ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from Syria , bringing “ We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this Officials said General Votel argued that withdrawing American troops would leave the Kurds

Like many Kurds living in the United States , Lava Antar has had a hard time sleeping this week, waking often to check reports of Turkish jets and artillery pounding her northeast Syria homeland. “ We feel betrayed , we feel angry,” said Antar, a 26-year-old student, during at a meeting to plan a

a military tank driving on a road: US troops sit atop an armoured vehicle on a road near the northern Syrian village of Ain Issa on June 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN        (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)© DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images US troops sit atop an armoured vehicle on a road near the northern Syrian village of Ain Issa on June 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A wide range of American military personnel and defense officials are expressing a deep sense of frustration and anger at the Trump administration's refusal to support Syrian Kurds facing a Turkish military assault, over half a dozen US military and defense officials have told CNN.

Several US military and defense officials, including personnel deployed to Syria, expressed dismay at how the Trump administration has handled the situation.

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.

Like many Kurds living in the United States , Lava Antar has had a hard time sleeping this week, waking often to check reports of Turkish jets and artillery pounding her northeast Syria homeland. “ We feel betrayed , we feel angry,” said Antar, a 26-year-old student, during at a meeting to plan a

At least 750 Isis affiliates escape after Turkish shelling of camp guarded by Kurds with whom US forces were working.

One US official said it is well known that some senior US military officials are livid at how the Kurds have been treated given their role in helping the US fight ISIS.

Another senior American defense official told CNN that Trump's failure to more forcefully oppose the invasion or do anything to stop the attacks on the Kurds meant Trump had given Turkey a green light, despite the administration's public stance that it had consistently opposed the operation.

Also watch: Damascus cements its new Kurd alliance (Provided by Reuters)

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces "are fighting a force that intends to eliminate their people because we green lighted their operation," a senior US defense official told CNN referring to the Turkish operation.

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.

President Trump ' s decision to pull the US out of what he called an endless war gave Turkey the green light to send troops into Syria . It was a disastrous day for American Middle East policy . The alliance with the Kurds , and the security guarantee safeguarding their self-governing slice of Syria , gave the

Kurds in US feel ‘ betrayed ’ at Trump ’ s troop pullback. Syrian Kurdish fighters of Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army enter Turkey from Syria to join fighting alongside Turkish forces against US -backed Kurds . “ We feel betrayed , we feel angry,” said Antar, a 26-year-old student, during at a meeting to

Another US military official involved in operations in Syria said he was "ashamed" of his country's actions with regards to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, saying the US had failed to defend its one-time ally in the fight against ISIS.

Also watch: U.S. imposes new sanctions on Turkey: Mnuchin (Provided by Reuters)

Loss of trust

There's also a concern that allies and potential partners won't trust the US in the future.

"How do we expect anyone to partner with us now?" one US defense official told CNN.

"They did everything we asked them to do," said another. "This is really not good for us."

Turkey launched its long threatened incursion into the country after Trump ordered a small contingent of about 50 US troops to be pulled back from the border area amid a belief that a Turkish assault was imminent.

Exclusive: Turkey Bombs US Special Forces in Syria Attack, Apparently by Mistake

  Exclusive: Turkey Bombs US Special Forces in Syria Attack, Apparently by Mistake A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria.A contingent of U.S. Special Forces was caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria, days after President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart he would withdraw U.S. troops from certain positions in the area. A senior Pentagon official said shelling by the Turkish forces was so heavy that the U.S. personnel considered firing back in self-defense.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump said Monday he hoped that Syrian President Bashar Assad would do a great job protecting Syrian Kurds from Turkey after most of US troops were withdrawn.

“Shame: while Kurds are slaughtered US military in full retreat in eastern Syria ,” tweeted Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chief of staff who has been close to the If the Turkish incursion into Syria breaks the power of the Kurdish force, some military officials believe the Islamic State could once again find

While Trump administration officials have argued that Turkey would have attacked the Kurds even if US troops had remained, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and a large bipartisan group of US lawmakers have slammed Trump for not opposing the Turkish operation more forcefully and for taking no concrete action to stop it.

Republican lawmakers in particular have harshly denounced Trump's decision as a betrayal of the Kurds and a strategic blunder that will weaken American credibility, reverse gains against ISIS, make it harder for the US to build alliances and give a boost to Russia and Iran.

The Trump administration belatedly sought to halt the Turkish advance Monday, announcing a series of sanctions targeting Turkey's Defense, Energy and Interior ministers as well as the Defense and Energy ministries.

Vice President Mike Pence also revealed that Trump had spoken with both Turkey's President Erdogan and the Kurdish-leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi, adding that Trump had "received a firm commitment" from Erdogan not to attack the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani, a location considered to be critical to the SDF.

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.

This week, Donald Trump announced he was pulling US troops from Syria ’ s border with Turkey, seemingly giving the But it is also the Kurdish capital of America, home to an estimated 15,000 Kurds , the largest such population in the US . When members of the Nashville Kurdish community

As expected, President Trump ’ s decision to pull U . S . troops away from the Syria -Turkey border Trump also implied on Monday that the Kurds , who are fleeing the invading Turkish forces, are “That has enraged our forces in Syria ,” a senior U . S . administration official told Foreign Policy . …. Kurds may be releasing some to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from

Pence said the US was also working to set up a ceasefire between the warring factions. However, given Trump's order to withdraw all US troops from the area, the US will find it hard to monitor much less enforce such a ceasefire and it's unclear how much leverage the US will have to impact the situation on the ground with one official calling it "too little, too late."

Some of the frustration among US personnel is based on the fact that in order to appease Turkey, the US convinced the Syrian Kurds to dismantle their defensive fortifications along the border and pull their fighters back. The US said Turkey had agreed to the arrangement which sought to prevent unilateral Turkish military action and also provided Turkey with US intelligence about the border area.

Cognizant of Turkey's enmity towards Syrian Kurdish groups, the US also resisted arming Kurdish elements of the SDF, only doing so in 2017. The US also only provided both Arabs and Kurds in the SDF with light arms such as Ak-47 rifles and did not arm them with heavy weapons that could be used against a modern military equipped with tanks, artillery and warplanes like Turkey's.

But despite those efforts to appease Ankara, Turkey launched its invasion.

Senior members of the Trump administration have insisted that the US has not deserted the Syrian Kurds. However, the US government has not taken action yet to stop the Turkish incursion.

COMMENTARY: Canada is complicit in the shameful betrayal of the Kurds

  COMMENTARY: Canada is complicit in the shameful betrayal of the Kurds As much as we should condemn Trump for his craven abandonment of the Kurds, we should also look at why Canada hasn’t been doing more, says Rob Breakenridge.After all the sacrifices that Kurdish forces have made in taking the fight to ISIS and bringing about the end of the so-called caliphate, for the American president to throw them under the bus and subject them to this Turkish onslaught is beyond shameful.

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Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claimed Friday that the US is not abandoning its Kurdish allies who are now under attack from Turkey's military offensive into Syria, even as he made clear the US will not intervene in the fight.

A 'betrayal'

However, troops on the ground have described it as an abandonment and a "betrayal."

"It's pretty messed up what's happening out here," one US Special Forces soldier on the ground in Syria told CNN when news of the US withdrawal was announced.

"We want to offer support," the soldier said, adding "We do not want to leave them in this situation."

Several US military officials expressed disappointment that the Pentagon and State Department were not acting with a greater sense of urgency to protect the Kurds.

On Friday the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he had told the SDF not to "overreact" to the Turkish operation.

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

  Newfoundland veteran afraid for Kurdish fighters in Syria after U.S. troop withdrawal Leading Seaman Michael Kennedy retired from the Canadian Navy in 2016.A retired Newfoundland navy veteran who fought ISIS in Syria fears for Kurdish forces in the region following the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

'Let us be heard:' Hundreds of Nashville Kurds protest downtown over Trump ' s actions in Syria . Friday's rally was organized in support of friends and relatives in Syria they say have been betrayed by President Donald Trump ' s decision to withdraw U . S . troops who fought alongside Kurds battling the

Trump defended his gamble that pulling US forces out of Syria would not weaken US security and The US has had about 1,000 troops in northeastern Syria allied with the Kurdish -led Syrian Critics say the US has betrayed the Kurds by pulling back in the face of Turkey’ s invasion, but Esper said

Asked about the widely publicized criticism from US Special Operations Forces about the Syria policy, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said Monday that while such "candor" was "important," he said, "When national policy decisions are made, we salute and move out."

"I like candor. It's important to have that. Obviously, you don't want to have disobedience, but you, it's definitely, they have to have opinions. Everybody has opinions, you have a war of ideas, but ultimately that they, when national policy decisions are made, we salute and move out," he told reporters.

"They should be extremely proud of what they've done. and there are higher level strategic politics involved, but as far as what our soldiers have done, what our special forces have done, they've done an incredible job over there and they ought to be very, very proud of it," Gen. James McConville, the chief of staff of the Army, said Monday while appearing beside McCarthy.

In the absence of US assistance in the face of the Turkish attack the Kurds have sought protection from the Assad regime in Damascus and their Russian military backers, something Trump tweeted Monday that he was OK with.

Trump had earlier Monday cited uncorroborated reports that Kurdish officials had released some of the 10,000 ISIS prisoners being held by the SDF, a notion that was immediately rejected by a member of his own administration.

"Falsely claiming that the SDF Kurds are letting ISIS prisoners out of prison is wrong," a senior defense official said.

Trump Betrayed the Kurds. He Couldn’t Help Himself. .
Trump Betrayed the Kurds. He Couldn’t Help Himself.U.S. President Donald Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds stung deeply. “They trusted us and we broke that trust. It’s a stain on the American conscience.” These, according to The New York Times, are the searing words of an Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria.

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