Not abandoning the Kurds, says Trump

Not abandoning the Kurds, says Trump”

Trump's decision effectively provides Turkish troops with a green light to attack US-backed Kurdish forces, though Trump threatened to punish Turkey economically if it does "anything outside of what we think is humane".

Their victory against IS in the battle of Kobane stopped the group's terrifying advance across Syria. Eventually, it was the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces - supported by USA air power - who overran the last part of Islamic State's "caliphate" in March this year.

"We are going to be extremely careful that this announced disengagement from the United States and a possible offensive by Turkey does not create a risky [move] that diverts from the goal we all pursue-the fight against the Islamic State-which is unsafe for the local population", Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly told French reporters after Trump's latest decision, according to France 24. Ankara brands them terrorists due to their links to Kurdish militants who have waged a long insurgency in Turkey. The bulk of the units in the Syrian Democratic Forces came from the Kurdish "People's Protection Units", or YPG. If he passes himself to Syria he becomes YPG. "The main security threat against Turkey is the PKK".

Turkey has been fighting a Kurdish insurgency led by the PKK, in which an estimated 40,000 people have died, since 1984.

The Kurdish-led forces have denounced the major US policy shift as a "stab in the back".

There are about 30 million Kurds living in the Middle East, with half of them living in Turkey.

In an op-ed Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Mike Reynolds, an academician at Princeton University, said labeling Turkey's objections to arming the YPG terror organization "anti-Kurdish" is ignorant.

But a Reuters witness saw no sign of military activity near the Turkish border town of Akcakale, across from Syria's Tel Abyad. "The PKK represents a grave threat to the Turkish Republic, and Turks across the political spectrum loathe it".

Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria have declared a state of emergency and called for civilians volunteers to head to the front lines to defend against an imminent Turkish assault.

America maintains some 1,000 troops in Syria who work alongside the Kurdish fighters.

On Monday, Trump defended the decision, Haaretz reported, saying that USA support for Syrian Kurds was too costly.

Earlier Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the United States of playing "very risky games" with the Syrian Kurds, saying the USA propped up the Kurds as a "quasi state" within Syria but was now ending its support.

But the Free Syrian Army is accused by the United Nations of committing human rights abuses when it and Turkish forces invaded the Kurdish-held, Syrian city of Afrin in early 2018.

Kurds argue that Ankara's goal is to dilute their dominance in the region with an influx of mostly Sunni Arab refugees now living in Turkey.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest foreign ally, said it was not told in advance by the U.S. or Turkey about any agreements they had about plans to pull American troops from the north-east, adding that it was watching the situation very closely.

Another key reason Turkey wants to weaken Kurdish control of northern Syria is its experience with another Kurdish-governed region in neighbouring Iraq.

Britain said it was "deeply concerned" by Turkey's plans to attack Kurdish fighters, who lead the SDF.

"This is one of the main fears of the Turkish Government and the Turkish society", Syria analyst Ömer Özkizilcik said.

"We know that in this area many weapons and many fighters from the YPG went via northern Iraq to Turkey and they have infiltrated the area and they have caused massive destruction."

Trump has blown hot and cold since a surprise announcement on Sunday that Washington was pulling back 50 to 100 "special operators" from Syria's northern frontier.

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