U.S. pulls out of northeastern Syria
The United States will abandon the Kurdish fighters who supported American troops in the yearslong fight against Islamic State (ISIS) insurgents. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham confirmed Sunday that 1,000 U.S. troops stationed in Kurdish regions of northeastern Syria “will no longer be in the immediate area.” The withdrawal, first announced in December, followed a Sunday phone conversation between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
What will happen to the Kurds? The withdrawal has raised fears of renewed fighting between Turkey and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Erdogan views the Kurds as terrorists and has long threatened to launch a military operation across the Turkey-Syria border. Trump warned in a tweet Monday that he would “obliterate the Economy of Turkey” if Erdogan went too far. He called on others in the region to “protect their own territory.” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said the region will turn into a war zone if the United States leaves and warned the forces will “defend northeast Syria at all costs.”
Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s analysis of the impact of the U.S. turnabout in Syria.
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