(ANTIWAR.COM) — President Trump’s decision to slow the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, after initial reports that he planned for a “rapid” withdrawal, are raising a lot of questions. These center heavily on how this apparently unilateral slowing of the pullout is reconciled with previous promises to closely coordinate with Turkey.
The decision to withdraw, after all, came by all indications at the behest of the Turkish government, and at least in part as a way for the US to avoid getting mixed up in an imminent Turkish war against the Kurdish YPG, with whom they are embedded.
But after the US pullout went from a reported 30 days to “around four months,” does that mean Turkey’s timetable has also slowed for attacking Manbij? If not, Manbij could be attacked by Turkey with US forces inside the city, and the Syrian Army present to try to keep the invading Turks away. This results from the Kurds quickly allying with Syria’s government after the pullout was announced. That could be even messier than the initial invasion envisioned.
Even if the US moves out of Manbij and other early targets for Turkey, the Syrian government’s involvement in the defense of Kurdish territory means the US will risk the appearance that they are handing over the defense of this region to Syria. In reality, the US has been comfortable with the Kurdish territory falling to Turkey, and wanted to facilitate that with the pullout.
Slowing that down, and not even putting a definitive date on it beyond “about four months” greatly confuses the US position. The US is moving away from its alliance with the YPG, and keeping an estimated 2,000 troops embedded in YPG territory will be terribly awkward, particularly as the YPG continues to court new allies who aren’t necessarily on good terms with the US.
Trump may have found slowing the process necessary in the face angry opposition to the pullout from massive numbers of Congressional hawks. Yet it is forcing everyone to scramble to change plans to fit the still nebulous US schedule, and the future of the US-Turkey coordination is completely up in the air.
These articles were chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
Since you’re here…
…We have a small favor to ask. Fewer and fewer people are seeing Anti-Media articles as social media sites crack down on us, and advertising revenues across the board are quickly declining. However, unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall because we value open and accessible journalism over profit — but at this point, we’re barely even breaking even. Hopefully, you can see why we need to ask for your help. Anti-Media’s independent journalism and analysis takes substantial time, resources, and effort to produce, but we do it because we believe in our message and hope you do, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting and finds value in it helps fund it, our future can be much more secure. For as little as $1 and a minute of your time, you can support Anti-Media. Thank you. Click here to support us