Turkish Invasion of Syria, What’s At Stake Without the US
There is a fight going on over Trump’s decision to remove troops from Syria. According to the Pentagon, only 50-100 special ops troops are affected by the order, and they will be relocated out of harm’s way to a “more secure area.” Those who are angry with the decision are seeing the Kurds and Christians, who have been solid allies, being left to fight the Turkish invasion – which as begun- alone.
On Monday, we reported that military officials were “blind-sided” by Trump’s announcement. But on Tuesday, the Pentagon claimed that both Defense Secretary Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley were consulted prior to the withdrawal.
The Hill reported:
Hoffman said the Defense Department’s position “has been and remains that establishing a safe zone in northern Syria is the best path forward to maintaining stability.”
He adds that the military has “made no changes to our force presence in Syria at this time,” and that U.S. troops were moved “out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety.”
A senior administration official also told reporters on Monday that Trump was not giving Turkey a “green light” to invade Syria, and that, of the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops in the country, about 50 to 100 special operators will be moved to other bases.
The US withdrawal
As the Turkish invasion commenced with warplanes bombing ‘civilian areas,’ the Kurds repeatedly asked for US airstrikes to help them. None materialized.
The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
This is the third invasion (incursion) of Turkey into Syria since 2016. It is accepted by the Syrian army (Assad’s forces).
A small group of Turkish forces first entered northeastern Syria Wednesday morning near the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, Bloomberg reported. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency later said Turkish artillery units have been shelling suspected Syrian Kurdish targets in Tal Abayd, while two mortar shells fired from Ras al-Ayn struck the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says one fighter from the Syrian Democratic Forces has been killed so far and six others have been wounded. An SDF spokesperson also says two civilians have been killed as a result of the “Turkish bombardment” of the village of Mashrafa.
Evangelical leaders, as well as Republicans and Democrats have condemned the withdrawal. The presence of large numbers of Christians in the area, as well as a “former” ally in the Kurdish YPG has many concerned. It has up until now been a zone for freedom of religion.
The leader of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, is a radical, hardline Islamist. He is not our friend and never as been. His desire is to rid the world of the Kurds- and by proxy, the Christians in the area. No matter how much he babbles about a “safe zone” that’s his bottom line. He and Trump are supposed to meet in November to set up that safe zone so that Syrian refugees can return home. Such a meeting remains to be seen.
One Syrian Christian leader pleaded:
“Please, seek God, ask God before you make your decision, so that Christianity is not eradicated from Syria, and from historical Mesopotamia. We don’t want a country where citizenship and rights are based on ethnic identities or religious identity. We want all Syrians to be equal.” Bassam Ishak, co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council Representation in the USA, to CBN News
It is important to protect our own troops, which is the purpose of Trump’s action. Turkey has lost thousands of people to the actions of the terrorist PKK, though the YPG is a different group (and in any given area of the Middle East, there is often crossover with members). Everything is blurred, and nothing is black and white. What will happen next?
Featured photo: file screenshot via The Malta Independent