Jan 26 2018

U.S. position in Syria too weak, time to go home – Erdoğan adviser

The position of the United States in Syria is too weak because it only has a small contingent of troops there and no reliable allies, according to Ilnur Çevik, senior diplomatic adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Washington can only lean on Kurdish militants who are more interested in expanding their territory than fighting Islamic State (ISIS), Çevik said in a column for the Yeni Safak newspaper on Friday.

Furthermore, only small pockets of ISIS resistance remain, which can be handled with token forces, so there is no longer a need for a U.S. military presence, he said.

“Thus, American troops can pack up and go home,” he said.

Erdoğan has said Turkey will send troops into Manbij, an area that Kurdish militants were supposed to vacate under a pledge by the United States, Çevik said.

“Either the U.S. will pull its forces out of this enclave or they will end up confronting the Turkish forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that has been helping Turkey in the north of Syria,” he said.

The United States should work behind the scenes with Turkey until the operation in Afrin is complete, when the Turkish military will turn its attention to Manbij and even east of the River Euphrates where the the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its affiliates still operate, Çevik said.