Turkey says it won't bow to US threat over its Syria plans (copy)

In this Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 photo, Turkish forces artillery pieces are seen on their new positions near the border with Syria in Sanliurfa province, Turkey. U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces in Syria said American troops began withdrawing Monday from their positions along Turkey's border in northeastern Syria, ahead of an anticipated Turkish invasion.

The U.S. has kept troops near the Turkish-Syrian border for sound military reasons. In the same way that we have troops at the Korean border for deterrence against further armed conflict, the U.S. forces in northern Syria allowed Kurdish forces to maintain control of former Islamic State territory.

Now that President Donald Trump has withdrawn U.S. forces from the border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered his military into the region, setting up likely clashes with Kurdish forces and raising major humanitarian concerns about the region’s civilian population. The Kurds have proved to be an invaluable, stalwart ally to our country, ousting Islamic State forces at a high cost: 11,000 Kurdish fighters killed and 24,000 wounded.

Erdogan’s regime in Turkey, in contrast, has proved an untrustworthy NATO member, insisting on purchasing an anti-aircraft system from Russia despite firm protests from the U.S.

Kurdish leaders have rightly expressed shock and anger at our country’s action. The U.S. withdrawal undermines our reputation as a faithful ally and opens the door to further Middle East upheaval.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.