Trump-Erdoğan call paved the way for grave consequences – Guardian

While U.S. President Donald Trump is set to face impeachment for a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, it is a lesser-discussed recent phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which has led to the betrayal of Syria’s Kurds, that poses graver consequences, wrote the Guardian.

The U.S. president, following a phone call with Erdoğan on Sunday, announced an abrupt foreign policy change to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, effectively leaving the Kurdish forces in the region in the hands of Turkey, which has launched an operation to clear the region of said forces.

Some 100,000 people have been displaced in three days of the Turkish incursion in north-east Syria while the Turkish military claims to have killed 415 members of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its main fighting force, the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“With no air force, no surface-to-air missiles, no armoured personnel carriers,’’ Kurdish forces, which have been key in the U.S.-led war on the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region, have been abandoned to die, the Guardian said, as they are massively outnumbered and outgunned by Turkey. 

Furthermore, Ankara is looking to “resettle” up to 3 million Syrians in the Kurdish region, a move which according to Carne Ross, the former Foreign Office official whose Independent Diplomat group now advises the Kurds of north-eastern Syria, amounts to ethnic cleansing.

The Kurdish forces oversaw the imprisonment of former ISIS fighters, which along with their families number around 70,000.

The prisoners have met the Turkish invasion with joy, the Guardian article said, as the Kurdish forces preventing them from returning to combat are now fending for themselves.

Reports have begun to emerge of ISIS fighters breaking free from a jail in north-east Syria amid Turkish shelling, fuelling fears that Ankara’s incursion could trigger the resurgence of the group.

Trump’s call with Erdoğan will have a more lethal impact than the Zelenskiy one, the Guardian said, adding that “both further destruction of America’s reputation in the eyes of its allies.“