Jan 26 2018

U.S. tells Kurds it will not fight Turkey for them - NYT

With the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) almost complete, the U. S. need for Kurdish forces in Syria has lessened, and U.S. officials have told Kurdish militias that U.S. troops will not battle Turkey should it invade to try to wipe out the Kurdish forces, the New York Times said.

“American officials have told the Kurds that the United States will not fight Turkey for them,” the newspaper said.

“With a diminished need to fight the Islamic State in Syria,” it paraphrased analyst Hassan Hassan as saying, “American support for the Kurds could dwindle.”

The U.S. reaction to the Turkish invasion of the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)-controlled area of Afrin in Syria last week was “effectively a green light”, the newspaper said.

President Donald Trump’s homeland security and terrorism advisor Thomas Bossert said only that he would “prefer it” if Turkey withdrew from the area, it said.

However, with Turkey threatening to attack the area held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria’s northeast next, the United States may have to make a choice between facing up to Turkey or pulling out its forces and ripping up its existing strategy for the region.

“(President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan has threatened to attack that larger area, beginning with the town of Manbij. The Turks say the Americans promised that the Syrian Democratic Forces would withdraw from such majority-Arab areas after taking them from the Islamic State, but it has not.”