Who has the US betrayed so far
Comment: Again the Kurds are the losers
"No friends but the mountains". The latest news from Washington seems to confirm this old Kurdish saying. The US has announced that it no longer wants to stand in the way of a Turkish invasion of the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria. The US is thus handing its closest ally in the fight against the so-called "Islamic State" to the superior power of Erdogan's military machine.
Over 10,000 Kurdish fighters have lost their lives in the fight against IS in recent years. Kurdish militias formed the backbone of the SDF, the "Syrian Democratic Forces", which led the lion's share of the fight against IS on the ground. It is now clear: the Kurds' hopes were deceived, in that they earned US protection from Turkish attacks.
Gaining space for the Syrian refugees
The Turkish president has had his eye on northern Syria for a long time. Erdogan recently presented his plans for a 30-kilometer "security zone" south of the Turkish border at the UN General Assembly. With a border of almost 500 kilometers in total, the zone would be about the same size as the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
DW editor Matthias von Hein
In war-torn Syria, the Kurdish-controlled areas have so far been an oasis of stability. Turkey's imminent military operation is likely to change that. The consequences of Turkish invasions in Syria could be seen at the beginning of 2018 during the occupation of Afrin, cynically called "Operation Olive Branch": the Turkish military moved into the area together with jihadist militias. According to UN information, almost 140,000 people fled the city of Afrin and the surrounding area at that time. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights comes to even higher numbers: It speaks of 350,000 displaced persons. Human rights organizations complained about the systematic destruction of livelihoods. Kurdish houses were looted and Syrian Arabs settled.
Erdogan is now pursuing similar plans - quite openly. He wants to make room for the more than three million Syrian refugees who are no longer welcome in Turkey. In the end, this means: Erdogan is planning ethnic cleansing and subsequent resettlement along the Syrian-Turkish border.
Who takes care of the remains of IS?
With all this one must not forget: the fight against IS is far from being won. It is true that he lost his territory at the beginning of the year. But IS fighters are still hiding in the vastness of Syria. And the IS ideology is still in the minds of around 12,000 IS fighters who are captured and guarded by the Kurds in northern Syria. And in the minds of around 70,000 IS supporters who have fled from the northern Syrian camps. When the Turkish military approaches, the Kurds will have to take care of other things than the human legacy of the terror caliphate. US President Trump has made Erdogan responsible: Turkey will then be responsible for the IS fighters and supporters captured. But the world will not be safer with the Turkish advance.
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