On Thursday, Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces spoke with a senior US diplomat and told him that “You are leaving us to be slaughtered.” He demanded to know whether the US is going to do anything to protect Syrian Kurds as Turkey continues with its military operation targeting America’s Kurdish allies in Syria.
“You have given up on us. You are leaving us to be slaughtered,” Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi told the Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, William Roebuck during a meeting.
“You are not willing to protect the people, but you do not want another force to come and protect us. You have sold us. This is immoral,” Mazloum added.
Mazloum went on to state that the US needs to either help stop the Turkish attack or allow the Syrian Democratic Forces to strike a deal with the Assad regime in Damascus and their Russian backers. Striking this deal would allow Russian warplanes to enforce a no-fly zone over northeast Syria, thereby denying Turkey the ability to carry out airstrikes. Trump administration officials have stated that the US does not want the Kurds turning to the Russians.
“I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these bombs falling on us or not. I need to know because if you’re not, I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region,” Mazloum added.
Soon after Donald Trump made the abrupt decision to pull out US troops from the border area Turkey launched its long-threatened incursion into Syria.
Many senior members of the Trump administration have insisted the US has not deserted the Syrian Kurds yet the US government has not taken action yet to stop the Turkish incursion.
On Friday, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday the US is not abandoning its Kurdish allies, but he also stated the US would not interfere.
“We are not abandoning our Kurdish partner forces and US troops remain with them in other parts of Syria,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon.
“We remain in close coordination with the Syrian Democratic Forces who helped us destroy the physical caliphate of ISIS, but I will not place American service members in the middle of a longstanding conflict between the Turks and the Kurds, this is not why we are in Syria,” Esper said.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the Trump administration “has been incredibly supportive of the Kurds” and that they had been good partners to the US. “I am very confident this administration will continue to support these people who have been good friends of the United States of America,” he said.
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order giving the Treasury Department “very significant new sanctions authorities” against Turkey over its actions in Syria, however, it appears that the US has no plans to immediately use them.
Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin released a statement that said that Trump’s threat of sanctions was meant to dissuade Turkey from actions that included “the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, targeting of civilian infrastructure, targeting of ethnic or religious minorities.”
Trump has invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House in November.
On Thursday Mazloum stated that “I’ve been holding myself for two days from going to the press and saying that America abandoned us and that I would like you to get out of our areas now so that I can invite Russian and regime planes to take over this airspace. Either you stop this bombing on our people now or move aside so we can let in the Russians.”
Roebuck told Mazloum “not to take any immediate decisions,” saying he would communicate the Kurdish leaders’ messages to the State Department. He added that the US was working to stop Turkey’s offensive and broker a ceasefire.
Several US military and defense officials have expressed dismay and anger over how the Trump administration has handled the situation.
One US official stated that it was well known that some senior US military officials are livid at how the Kurds have been treated.
Another senior US defense official recently told CNN, “We are just watching the second largest Army in NATO attack one of our best counter-terrorism partners.” The official also shared that artillery strikes near US troops around Kobani are evidence Turkey is operating beyond the areas it had indicated to the US.