The Heat: Syria – US troop withdrawal

The Heat

Last month United States President Donald Trump ordered U.S. troops be pulled out of Syria within 30 days. But when will it happen and what are the implications?

Although there are just some 2,000 American military personnel deployed there, Trump’s decision was criticized by some and his Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, resigned in protest.

This week president Trump appeared to back off his position and now says he wants U.S. troops out of Syria “over a period of time.”

One major concern is what will happen to the Kurds and their YPG forces once the U.S. troops leave.

So far, the Kurdish fighters, supplied with U.S. weapons, have played a major role in battling ISIL.

But, Turkey considers the YPG terrorists—a branch of Turkey’s Kurdish separatist movement, the PKK.

And it is threatening to launch an attack against the Kurdish group, which is aligned with the Syrian Defence Forces.

Meanwhile, other countries engaged in Syria, such as Russia, have a major interest in the outcome.

To discuss:

  • Theodore Kattouf, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria 
  • Ammar Waqqaf is the founder and director of Gnosos, an organization that consults on Syria and the Middle East.
  • Ali Cinar is the president of the Turkish Heritage Organization.
  • Namo Abdulla, the Washington Bureau Chief for Rudaw, a Kurdish media network

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