Syrian Kurds have an "out", it just isn't what they wanted
Our withdrawal from Syria leaves our Kurdish allies in the lurch.
That much the mainstream media gets right.
But the loss of the US presence has renewed worries that Turkey, which regards the SDF's main component, the People's Protection Units (YPG), as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), may now be preparing to launch an operation to drive the group out of the city of Manbij or further.
"The latest news has been literally shocking. We didn't only have the threats of being attacked by the Turks but, to top it all, the US decided to leave with no one to replace [them]," said Nour Osou, a 38-year-old resident of Tal Abyad, a town the YPG captured from IS in 2015.
"It's unbelievable why it's going this way with the Trump administration - leaving Turkey and Russia to prevail in Syria, leaving their allies eaten alive?"
This is all true. Given the current situation, Turkey will invade and crush the Syrian Kurds.
However, there is another way that few are talking about.
It's what I expect to happen.
According to political sources in Damascus, the Syrian Army will not come to the aid of the Kurdish warriors but also will not join the Turks in their extermination. Rather, they will stand by and watch, waiting to see who collapses first, the Kurds or Erdogan...
At present, talks are underway between Syrian authorities and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose largest contingent is the YPG. Last February the Kurds made a similar appeal to Damascus as Turkish troops were advancing on the city of Afrin, west of the Euphrates.
The Kurds offered to relinquish the destroyed eastern city of Raqqa, which they had liberated from ISIS, as well as the northeastern city of Hassakeh, in return for military support. Damascus said no, arguing that it was already in control of half of Hassakeh, and demanding that the Kurds surrender all cities—not just two—and their entire arsenal in exchange for government protection. The terms of the government also called for all SDF fighters to surrender their arms and join the Syrian military.
The SDF at the time rejected the offer, instead hoping for US support to migrate west, across the Euphrates. That never happened.