Consequences of relying on American alliance
US President Donald Trump announced in an unexpected decision that he would withdraw US troops from Syria, raising the concern of Syrian Kurds that the United States is their ally.
Although Washington warned of a possible Turkish invasion of the Kurds, however, in spite of its previous stances, the White House has now made it clear that it has no longer responsibility vis-a-vis the Kurds.
The White House has announced that Turkey will soon launch a military operation in northern Syria that the US will not participate in.
Washington's forces "will not support or be involved in the [Turkish] operation" and "will no longer be in the immediate area", White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Monday.
"Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria," said the statement.
Trump's move was met with nearly universal astonishment and confusion even from the president's own side.
The former US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, tweeted: "We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend."
Aldar Khalil, a senior Syrian-Kurdish political leader told Sky News "Of course this decision will revive ISIS and will lead the region into war and tough conditions again. A very difficult time awaits the people of the region".
The announcement came after US President Donald Trump consulted with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday night in a telephone call and invited him to Washington.
There are currently more than 1,000 US troops in northeast Syria. They work closely with Kurdish forces known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG). The YPG is the Kurdish forces, which Turkey regards as affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and terrorists.
Washington has thus abandoned its Kurdish allies in the face of a future Turkish invasion of the Kurdish region.
"With the US leaving Syria, one of the biggest losers will be Kurdish forces," the New York Times wrote in its editorial.
The Turkish Defense Ministry has said that all preparations are completed for a military incursion into northern Syria.
Framing the operation as humanitarian, the ministry said in a tweet: "The establishment of a Safe Zone/ Peace Corridor is essential for Syrians to have a safe life by contributing to the stability and peace of our region."
"The Turkish Armed Forces will never tolerate the creation of a terror corridor at our borders. All preparations for the operation have been made."
Now, a White House spokesman has made it clear that with the defeat of ISIS in Syria, US forces no longer have a mission in Syria.
Turkey has been consulting with the United States for a long time to establish a safe zone in northern Syria. Turkish and US military officials August 7 agreed on a plan to establish a safe zone in northern Syria. Ankara claims the move aims to create a safe zone for the return of Syrian refugees from Turkey to their country.
If the United States fails to establish a 'safe zone' in northern Syria, Ankara will stop working with the United States, Turkish Defense Minister Khalosi Akar said last week in a telephone call with his US counterpart Mark Esper.
The Turkish president also announced on Saturday the imminent start of military operations in northern Syria against the country's Kurds. While Syrian Kurds announced sending troops and military equipment to the north to counter a possible Turkish offensive, the so-called "Free Syrian Army", allied with Turkey, also announced its readiness to join forces in this invasion.
"There is a phrase that we always say: we can come any night without warning," Erdogan told reporters in televised remarks. "It is absolutely out of the question for us to further tolerate the threats from these terrorist groups."
Washington has been deploying forces in the north and northeast of Syria in recent years, accompanying with Kurdish fighters and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claiming to be fighting ISIS. While Turkey calls the Syrian People’s Protection Units a terrorist group, on the contrary, the United States considered Kurdish militias as one of its allies in the fight against ISIS and provided them with large quantities of weapons and military equipment.
Syria's Kurds warned on Monday a Turkish military invasion would spark a major ISIS resurgence and vowed to battle Turkey's military.
Such an operation would reverse years of successful Kurdish-led operations to defeat the armed group and allow some of its surviving leaders to come out of hiding, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement.
Russia also said on Monday that Syria's territorial integrity must be preserved. "We hope that our Turkish colleagues would stick to this position in all situations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Peskov reiterated Moscow's stance that all foreign military forces "with illegal presence" should leave Syria.
The announcement of a US' silence to respond to Turkey's forthcoming attack would now be a shock to Washington's Kurdish allies. This shows that the US is by no means a reliable ally for its regional partners, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE or the Syrian Kurds, and merely uses them as a tool.