Bloodletting Continues In Syria

Trump — ‘Sometimes You Have To Let Them Fight’

As soon as President Trump decided to pull out American troops from Syria, Turkey’s military moved in with airstrikes and a ground offensive into Kurdish-held parts of northeastern Syria.

The U.S. troops’ withdrawal meant that the Kurds had to fight alone against the military might of the Turks.

The Kurds, regarded as an ally, fought alongside the Americans to battle against the Islamic State group ISIS.

However, Turkey has long maintained the view that the U.S.-backed Kurdish Militia Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, is a terrorist group.

This group, the People’s Protection Unit, or YPG, is aligned with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has fought for autonomy in eastern Turkey for years.

As part of that effort, the PKK carried out a wave of bombings and other attacks in Turkey.

The international community and U.S. military planners regard the PKK as terrorists, but not the YPG.

Turkey, however, sees the different groups as the same and is prepared to eradicate them.

The decision by the U.S. to move out their troops created a perfect opportunity for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to follow through on a promise to invade Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria and create a “free zone.”

The President had argued that part of his quest is to protect Turkey’s border, resettle the approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently living in camps in Turkey as well as hunt down Kurdish militias.

In the meantime, it is reported that nearly 500 people have been killed since the offensive started.

The report noted that the dead included 224 members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and 183 Turkish-backed rebels but also 72 civilians, with at least 20 of them being Turks.

At the same time, the decision by President Trump has invoked the wrath not only of Kurdish leaders but also members of his own Republican Party as well as that of the Democratic Party.

However, President Trump reacted to the outcry at a rally in Texas by saying that Turkish and Kurdish forces needed to “fight a little while.”

“Without spilling a drop of American blood, not one drop of American blood, we’ve all agreed on a pause, or cease-fire, in the border region of Syria. And, it was unconventional what I did,” the President declared.

“I said, they’ve to fight a little while. Sometimes you have got to let them fight a little while. Then people find out how tough the fighting is, these guys know right up here, these guys know, right,” he continued.

He said further, “Sometimes, you have got to let them fight like two kids in a lot, you’ve got to let them fight, and then you pull them apart.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and an erstwhile supporter of the President, sharply criticized him over his decision to remove U.S. troops from northern Syria.

“He’s not listening to his advisers, he’s not,” Graham said. “He’s making the biggest mistake of his presidency by assuming the Kurds are better off today than they were yesterday. That is just unbelievable.”

Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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