By: Sam Jones, Columnist
Turkey launched airstrikes in northern Syria on Wednesday, just three days after President Trump agreed to move American troops out of the region. According to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, “Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.” This comes after conflict between the government of Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) backed Kurdish militia.
Many public figures have publicly denounced President Trump’s decision, citing that the Turkish Government would not attack the region if American forces remained. Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, who also served as a Navy Seal, took to Twitter following the President’s sudden announcement stating, “Allowing the Turkish military to take the territory risks igniting more fighting and destabilization.” The President has received criticism from many others, including several other Republicans. Additionally, many experts cite benefits that could arise for the Islamic State.
Since 2015, when jihadists of the Islamic State took control of nearly a third of northeastern Syria, the United States has been stationed with the Syrian Kurdish militia. Later, the S.D.F. claimed control over the land, which has been mostly liberated from ISIS.
Leaving the area strips the United States virtually all of its influence over the conflict. The Kurdish militia has been a large part in destroying the evils of ISIS and other radical extremist groups. Leaving them behind faces a moral problem, as they are largely outnumbered and not equipped to defend their territory from the Turkish Government.
Since ISIS has been mostly defeated in Northern Syria, the strategy by the Trump administration has been to use the S.D.F. to check in on the influence of Iran and Russia, and prevent a jihadist resurgence in the area.
However, with conflict arising on the border of Turkey and Syria, Kurdish militants will be moving to the front lines without any assistance from American forces. This could easily allow President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to reclaim territory once seized by the S.D.F. Additionally, this could allow ISIS remnants to make a comeback in the area.
With the entire world inserting their “expert opinions,” one thing remains clear. President Trump campaigned on bringing American troops stationed in the middle east home. By removing troops from a conflict that America does not need to be involved in, he is keeping that promise.
Yes, Turkey has begun invading northern Syria, killing already over one hundred Kurdish militants as of Thursday. However, a strong argument can be made that the United States has no business in this conflict. Thousands of lives have already been lost in Middle East conflicts, along with countless tax payer dollars. President Trump certainly has the right to wonder why we are still there.
One thing is for certain, only time will tell whether the Commander in Chief’s decision to leave Northern Syria will prove to be as catastrophic as many argue. Anyone that claims to know exactly how this will play out is simply blowing smoke.