Mar 30 2018

‘We have no authority to push back Turkey’ - US commanders

While the U.S. continues to stress the role of Kurdish militants in taking on ISIS, the Turkish operation in Afrin is posing a serious challenge to their fight to tackle the Islamic State. 

U.S. commanders are complaining of lack guidance from the White House and the Kurdish militants focus on Turkish forces instead of ISIS.

Turkey’s operation into Afrin, which began on Jan. 20,  has prompted Kurdish fighters in the eastern part of the country, where they had been fighting ISIS alongside U.S. special forces, to redeploy westward, NBC News indicates.

Speaking to the lack of guidance from the White House,"We’re on the two-yard line. We could literally fall into the end zone. We’re that close to total victory, to whipping out the ISIS caliphate in Syria,” a U.S. special forces commander told NBC News, adding “We’re that close and now it’s coming apart.”

These views are echoed by half-dozen senior officials interviewed by NBC News, who are question whether they can rely on the US leadership under President Donald Trump.

While US officials say they don't have the authority to push back against Turkey with force, despite the fact that Turkey is attacking their anti-ISIS partners, Turkey has been intensifying its advance, with some Kurdish fighters abandoning their positions set up to confront ISIS so they can take on Turkey, the news site states.

U.S. military officials express their high respect for Kurds, say unlike most of the Arab militias the U.S. had been supporting, they kept their promises and communicated well with U.S. forces, NBC News reports.

“It’s the partnership we wished for, but never had,” says one commander who is in daily contact with the Kurdish-led forces.

Noting that Kurds could account for every weapon they were given, U.S. officials explain that Kurds aren’t religious extremists. Another factor which seems to impress them is that women fight in near-equal numbers to men.

“Women fighting formations — I mean not in a support role, not in a logistics role — on the front line killing ISIS. That's a pretty amazing story to me," one U.S. military offical says. “That's the commitment level. They trusted our first forces on the ground and we trusted them.”

However as Turkey intensifies its advance, Kurdish fighters are abandoning their positions set up to confront ISIS so they can fight Turkey and U.S. Forces are becoming increasingly frustrated.