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US could have prevented Turkey's military action on Syria

16 24 0

On October 6, during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, United States President Donald Trump agreed to move American troops out of northeast Syria to clear the way for a Turkish military operation to overthrow the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from the area.

Trump's decision led to a wave of criticism at home and abroad, with many accusing the president of abandoning America's Kurdish allies. The move undoubtedly left the YPG, which played the leading role in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group in Syria, in a vulnerable position. However, much of the chaos and suffering we are witnessing today cannot be blamed on Trump's impulsiveness alone. The ongoing Turkish offensive is, essentially, a by-product of the Obama administration's incoherent and unsustainable policy concerning the conflict in Syria.

The YPG is the Syrian affiliate of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish movement that has been waging an armed campaign against the Turkish state since the 1980s. Consequently, Turkey views the presence of any YPG controlled entity at its southern border as a major threat to its national security and territorial integrity. So, for Ankara, its ongoing incursion into northern Syria is an inevitable act of self-defence.

However, all this could have been avoided if the US had possessed a coherent strategy to prepare the region politically for its eventual withdrawal.

In 2012, in the wake of the Syrian uprising, YPG's political wing, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC), backed by the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Bargain, signed a cooperation agreement and formed the Kurdish........

© Al Jazeera