Recent reports have raised the specter of a U.S. withdrawal from Syria, and while brushed off by the Biden administration, one expert made clear that if such a withdrawal ever happened, the consequences would be disastrous for not only the region but the U.S. and its allies as well, reports FOX News.
In the meantime, two reliable Turkish foreign policy experts, Amberin Zaman and Barcin Yinanc claimed that withdrawal is imminent. Turkey labels the leading political/military Kurdish entity in Syria SDF as a terror organization, constantly pressuring the White House to cease relations with it. A US withdrawal would open the way for Turkey to decimate the proto-Kurdish state in Syria, but have many negative ramifications, too.
Sinam Sherkany Mohamad, the representative of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told Fox News Digital that a U.S. withdrawal from the region would have lasting effects.
“If the U.S. withdrew from Syria, our whole region would be at risk. We currently are guarding over 12,500 hardened ISIS fighters who would be released back to the battlefields in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond,” she said.
“[A] U.S. withdrawal would also mean that hundreds of thousands of persecuted minorities who were critical in ending the violent ambitions of ISIS would be subject to retaliation by the Assad regime, and by a Turkish government that is hostile to religious and ethnic minorities,” said Mohamad. “This would mean the continued persecution of Christians and other religions, total loss of the current equality of women, and the ethnic cleansing of protected minorities.”
The U.S. has roughly 900 troops stationed in Syria to counter ISIS and Iranian-backed militias. It also works closely with the SDF to prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State and carries out counterterrorism operations in the region.
A senior U.S. official told Fox News earlier this week that the U.S. has no plans to withdraw its 900 troops from Syria. Additionally, a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the U.S. is in the country to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and continues to work with local partners to maintain pressure on the jihadist group.
The Institute for the Study of War said in a report last year that Iran, Russia and the Syrian regime are “coordinating a coercive campaign to expel the United States from Syria,” possibly as part of a “broader political-military campaign to bolster the Assad regime’s international legitimacy and expand Iranian-Russian control over Syrian territory.”
Mohamad said ISIS’ activities have significantly increased in Deir Ezzor and the Syrian desert regions, specifically Al-Sukhnah and Palmyra.
“If tensions continue in the region and Turkish and Iranian attacks continue, we expect that the activity of ISIS cells will continue to increase, as they always benefit from the tensions and bombings caused by Iranian and Turkish strikes.”
Turkey has ramped up its airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq against Kurdish militants, destroying 29 bunkers, shelters, caves and oil facilities in the two regions earlier this month, according to Turkey’s defense ministry.
Turkey considers the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian branch of the PKK, as terrorist groups. The PKK is a U.S.-designed foreign terrorist group, but the U.S. supports the YPG because it has played an integral role in the fight against ISIS.
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