The Syrian Kurds always knew they would be betrayed by the United States, but no one could have expected that their abandonment would be so sudden or so brutal.
In a shock reversal of American Syria policy, President Trump declared on Twitter, to the horror of his Kurdish-led SDF allies and his own administration, that he would not stand in the way of Turkey’s long-threatened invasion of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria (AANES).
That this move comes immediately after US troops oversaw the destruction of the SDF’s carefully-prepared defensive positions, constructed to slow the progress of a Turkish assault, has only emphasized the sense of betrayal amongst to the SDF.
“The sacrifices we made to defeat the Islamic State were not just a service to our people but also a service to the United States, Europe, and the entire International community, who faced a real and present threat from terrorism,” wrote Ilham Ahmed, co-chair of the AANES’ Syrian Democratic Council governing body in an op-ed in the Washington Post. “We expected our sacrifice and commitment to be repaid in kind. Instead, now we have been betrayed.”
Now, SDF forces are not only fighting desperately to preserve their hard-won autonomy along the entire 300-km stretch of the border, they may very well be fighting for their survival.