October 9, 2019 President Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the Syrian border will not only creating a humanitarian crisis but it paves the way for an ISIS resurgence.
By 2014, three years into the devastating civil war in Syria, the country had deteriorated into what the United Nations (UN) called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
In a statement late Tuesday, the General Command of the Syrian Defense Forces (formerly YPG) said the border areas of northeast Syria “are on the edge of a possible humanitarian catastrophe … This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that a Turkish military operation into Syria has started.
Erdogan said the mission of Operation Peace Spring is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across the country’s southern border, and to bring peace to the area.
“With Operation Peace Spring, we will eliminate the terrorist threat to our country. We will create a safe zone to ensure that Syrian refugees return to their home countries. We will protect the territorial integrity of Syria and free all the people of the region from the clutches of terrorism.”
In August, the Turkish Defense Ministry and U.S. State Department announced an agreement to establish a joint operations center to manage a proposed buffer zone on Syria’s northeastern border. The U.S. Embassy in Turkey said the “safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country.”
Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)
The United States has backed the Kurdish People’s Protection Units aka YPG and credits them for helping defeat ISIS in Syria. After they called Trump’s sudden decision “a stab in the back” the YPG says it will now prioritize defending its “own people” over the battle to keep Islamic State from regrouping.
The Turkish government consider the YPG a terrorist group.
The YPG was formed in 2003 as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought the Turkish state for thirty years. Both the United Nations and the U.S. regard the PKK a terrorist organization.
In 2017, when the Kurds were needed to retake the Islamic State (ISIS) headquarters in Raqqa, the U.S. helped change the YPG’s name to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in order to dissociate it with the PKK.