The Syrian Kurds feel abandoned

The Syrian Kurds feel abandoned

In protest against the decision in Syria, the US special envoy for the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk, announced his early resignation. Sources used: dpa news agency

The US President calls for withdrawal. With his announcement, Donald Trump is extraditing his allies in Syria. His announcement is also dangerous for Germany.

Donald Trump speaks of a victory: As the commander in chief of the US troops, the US president has ordered the withdrawal of American soldiers from Syria. Trump is turning the sensitive balance of power in the region on its head. He is thus extraditing allied groups to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad. In Europe, the threat of terrorism is also increasing because ISIS in Syria has not been defeated. The decision can be reduced to this denominator.

War in Syria: bases and zones of influence. (Source: t-online)

The US plays an important role in Syria. You lead an international coalition that is flying air strikes on the extremists. Washington has around 2,000 soldiers in the country who have so far supported the Kurdish militias YPG and SDF. Trump justifies the immediate withdrawal with the fact that the mission was completed with the victory over the jihadist militia. What consequences does his decision have for the individual actors? The overview:

United States

The decision of the US President does not come as a surprise, only the timing was not foreseeable. Trump never had a clear strategy on Syria. During the US election campaign, he announced that he would quickly defeat IS and then bring the US troops home. During his presidency, the USA no longer pursued the goal of replacing Assad as ruler in Syria. Even so, the US sent ground troops into the country in March 2017. They should support the Kurds in the fight against IS and at the same time prevent conflicts between rival rebel groups.

This effort was effective. The US bases are one reason that the areas of influence of the various groups in the Syrian civil war solidified in the second half of 2018, the fighting became less. The Syrian army and Turkey did not attack Kurds or rebels when they were protected by US troops. This delicate balance would be destroyed if the USA withdrew.

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Because of this, Trump’s announcement has met with massive criticism from Democrats and Republicans in the United States. Several Republican senators and MPs describe the withdrawal of troops as a serious mistake and warn of the consequences of a hasty withdrawal.

But the idea is not necessarily badly received by the war-weary US population. "It’s time to bring our troops home"wrote Trump on Twitter. "Does the US want to be the cop in the Middle East?" So do many Americans.

However, the timing is unusual. Trump is in the Russia affair and in distress because of his wall construction plans on the Mexican border. His planned withdrawal from Syria is also seen as a strategy to divert attention from domestic political problems. Trump sees himself as a US president who wants to do a lot differently than his predecessors. While some of his predecessors were accused of starting wars in order to divert attention from other political conflicts, Trump is bringing US troops home: he now apparently wants to send this message to his compatriots.

The Kurds

You are the biggest loser in the US Special Forces withdrawal. The Syrian Kurds feel abandoned. As part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish People’s Defense Forces (YPG) have been the spearhead in the fight against the IS militia and have therefore been supported by the US armed forces with air strikes and large quantities of modern weapons.

Thanks to this support, the Kurdish militia has been able to deny in the past two years "Islamic State" from large areas in north and east Syria.what is community essay Today it controls around a third of Syrian territory, including mostly Arab cities outside the Kurdish settlement area, such as Raka, Manbidsch and parts of Deir Essor. Whether she can or will hold these cities without US aid is questionable.

The Kurds no longer have any allies in the region. Iraq and Turkey want to prevent attempts at autonomy, Assad wants to control the entire Syrian territory. In the eyes of Islamists, the Kurds are infidels. The fact that they currently control the most important oil reserves of the civil war country could also be their undoing.


The government in Ankara has always been a thorn in the side of US support for the YPG. She sees the group’s presence on its southern border as a threat, as it is closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been guerrilla fighting in southeastern Turkey since 1984. The Turkish army has therefore already acted twice with allied Syrian rebels against the YPG in northern Syria.

The Syrian ruler Bassar al-Assad (left), US President Donald Trump (center) and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r.): Turkey and the Syrian ruler would benefit from the withdrawal of US troops in Syria. (Source: t-online)

Erdogan’s strategy, however, is unclear. It is unlikely that Turkey would want to permanently occupy territories in northern Syria. In the controlled areas around the city of Afrin, Turkey resettled many Kurds. In contrast, Syrians were brought into the border area with Turkey. Erdogan apparently wants to obstruct the PKK in its own country retreats in Syria. A new attack on the Kurds is therefore likely.

Just last week Erdogan announced a new offensive in northern Syria. Since US soldiers are also stationed there, there was a threat of a direct confrontation between the NATO partners. After a US withdrawal, Turkey would have a free hand. The fact that the US government has approved the sale of Patriot missiles to Turkey was seen as a further sign of concession. An expensive arms deal that, among other things, could have convinced Trump to sacrifice the Kurds.

"Islamic State" and Islamist groups

Last week, SDF units with US support succeeded in capturing the eastern Syrian IS bastion of Hajin after months of losing fighting. From the former "caliphate" of the jihadists, there are only two villages left in the Euphrates valley near the Iraqi border and some areas in the Badija desert. However, thousands of fighters are still believed to be in the region, including many foreigners.

An attack by Turkey on the YPG in northern Syria would force the Kurdish militia to withdraw their soldiers from the fight against the jihadists. "We are about to make the same mistake in the Middle East that we have made over and over for 20 years"warned former US diplomat Ilan Goldenberg. With the American withdrawal, the IS militia could gain strength again – and thus make a new US intervention necessary at some point.

This risk is realistic. The past and experiences in Iraq showed that Islamist fighters could go underground even if they were defeated. After the Iraq war, they waited for US troops to withdraw and then took a poorly trained Iraqi army by surprise. This scenario is also realistic in Syria.

There is also a danger from other Islamist groups. One of the last remaining strongholds of the rebels is the region around the city of Idlib in northwest Syria. One of the strongest armed groups there is the Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) organization, which used to be part of the al-Qida terror network. The area is also home to more than a million people who fled Assad troops from other regions. The humanitarian situation is difficult.

The Assad regime

In addition to the IS militia, the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad and his allies Iran and Russia should also benefit from the US withdrawal. Assad will find it easier to regain control of the Kurdish areas by force or through negotiations. Assad’s supporters control almost the entire western part of the country from Aleppo in the north via the center around the capital Damascus to the city of Daraa in the south, where the uprising began in spring 2011. Forces loyal to the government control most of the remaining residents and the most important cities. However, the army is dependent on help.

On the one hand, these are local militias that are often commanded by warlords. This also includes foreign Shiite militias that are supported by Iran, such as Hezbollah from Lebanon. Russia’s army is supporting the government with air strikes.

Under these circumstances, the US troop withdrawal primarily strengthens Russia’s position. Syria becomes Vladimir Putin’s sole sphere of influence. Iran will also be able to strengthen its influence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that his country would continue to defend itself in Syria. 

France and Germany

After the US withdrawal, a small contingent of French special forces remains in northern Syria for the anti-IS fight. In France in particular, people are shocked by the Trump announcement. One week after the most recent terrorist attack in Strasbourg, there are fears that if ISIS in Syria becomes stronger, the risk of attacks in Europe will increase again. "The fight against terrorism is not over"said European Minister Nathalie Loiseau. 

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France wants to remain active in Syria. Harsh criticism of the US president also came from Germany. "There is a risk that the consequences of this decision will damage the fight against IS and jeopardize the successes achieved"said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

However, the US withdrawal could also oblige Germany to support France and to become more involved in Syria. Is Europe closing the gap that the Americans are opening and keeping the balance? Or does it hold back and risk the terrorists gaining strength again? So far, German involvement in the conflict has been comfortable. Trump’s decision could now also hold Germany accountable, in the spirit of the US President.

Sources used: own research news agencies dpa, AFP

Donald Trump withdraws US troops from Syria. Erdogan likes that, among others. The Turkish President now has free rein for a new offensive against the Kurds and invites Trump to a meeting.

The Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited US President Donald Trump to visit Turkey next year. This was announced by a White House spokesman. Although nothing final was planned yet, Trump was said to be open to a possible meeting in the future.

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Trump and Erdogan had only talked on the phone at the weekend and talked about the withdrawal of US soldiers from Syria, as well as about Turkey’s future role in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS). In a tweet, Trump had said that Erdogan had assured him that he would be the remains of IS in Syria "wipe out".

Erdogan and Trump at the G20 summit: After the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, Turkey should end the fight against IS. (Source: imago images)

Trump tweeted that he had one with Erdogan "slow and highly coordinated withdrawal of US forces from the area" have spoken. Once the US soldiers have left the region, nothing should stand in the way of an offensive against the Kurdish militia YPG in northern Syria from a Turkish perspective. The YPG was an important US ally in the fight against IS. Erdogan said Monday that the Syrian population is not the one "tyranny" left to the YPG.

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The withdrawal of US troops from Syria is controversial internationally and also in the USA itself. Among other things, Defense Secretary James Mattis had announced his resignation because of this.

Sources used: dpa news agency

The US President’s star has often been on Hollywood "Walk of Fame" targeted by activists. Now a man has smeared the star with a swastika.

With a swastika, a man has the star of US President Donald Trump on the famous "Walk of Fame" smeared in Hollywood. According to the police, the 29-year-old was arrested on Sunday after a passer-by observed him doing the crime. Accordingly, the eyewitness notified the police and followed the man until the officers arrived. The 29-year-old was accused of vandalism and the swastika was quickly removed.

Donald Trump’s star in Hollywood after a pickaxe attack: Activists keep visiting the symbolic place. (Source: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)