Member of US Special Forces in Syria: “I am ashamed for the first time in my career” - Nine Line News

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Not even a week has passed since President Trump announced the U.S. would be pulling troops from northeast Syria, effectively clearing the way for Turkey to begin a military offensive in the region.

Turkey intends to clear out the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who have been key US allies in the battle against ISIS, but Turkey regards the Kurdish forces as terrorists. The SDF was also guarding more than 10,000 ISIS prisoners in the area, stoking fears the prisoners may escape and reform ISIS.

 

According to Fox News, a member of U.S. Special Forces serving alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria voiced deep dismay about Trump’s decision, and the aftermath.

“I am ashamed for the first time in my career,” the soldier said, who has worked on training operations with local forces on multiple continents.

“This is insanity. I don’t know what they call atrocities, but they are happening.”

The Special Forces member said the Kurds have not left their positions guarding detainees. In fact, “they prevented a prison break last night without us,” the military source on the front line said. “They are not abandoning our side [yet].”

Of the president’s decision, the source said: “He doesn’t understand the problem. He doesn’t understand the repercussions of this. Erdogan is an Islamist, not a level-headed actor.”

“The Kurds are as close to Western thinking in the Middle East as anyone,” said the longtime member of Special Forces. “It’s a shame. We are just watching. It’s horrible.”

“The Kurds are sticking by us. No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us.”

 

President Trump has been widely criticized for the seemingly snap decision, with both Democrats and Republicans calling the decision a grave error, and a stab in the back to the Kurdish forces who have been strong allies to the US.

Trump has defended his decision as making good on a campaign promise to halt “endless wars.”

“I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home and bring them home as rapidly as possible,” he said.

 

In an op-ed appearing in USA Today, Benjamin Friedman, policy director at Defense Priorities, agrees with the president that the U.S. should withdraw from Syria, saying The United States does not owe the Kurds indefinite protection. However, Friedman takes issue with how it was done, saying they deserved fair warning of U.S. withdrawal.

 

Friedman acknowledges the complexity of the situation:

Turkey’s threat to attack Syrian Democratic Forces complicated U.S. withdrawal. But there was a rough solution: Let the Kurds negotiate with Damascus to restore their status quo ante. They lose autonomy but keep a militia, while Syrian regime forces police the border against remnants of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. That would have kept ISIS down, Turkey out, and the Kurds in reasonable shape.

Instead, U.S. officials discouraged the Kurds from that course, giving them a false sense of endless protection.

 

Nonetheless these strategic decisions don’t seem to take into account the individual human stories on the ground. U.S. forces have served bravely alongside Kurdish forces for many years. However hardened they are by battle, it cannot be easy to stand idly by while they are attacked.

 

What do you think? Was this decision a mistake? Or was it the right thing with the wrong execution?

 

 

 

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