World reacts to claims US withdrawing from Syria: Soldiers, diplomats, experts, journalists speak out

Reactions are pouring in after US President Donald Trump said the US had defeated ISIS and would leave Syria. 

Michael Knights: Another gun-in-mouth day for US policy in the Middle East. Withdrawing from Syria – where we cause Iran huge dilemmas at very low cost – is an interesting definition of bringing “maximum pressure” on Iran.

Senator Lindsey Graham: Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like mistake…Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like mistake…There will be much resentment and feeling of abandonment that will be directed toward American personnel. The confusion surrounding our Syria policy is making life much more difficult and dangerous for Americans in the region.

Senator Rand Paul: I am happy to see a President who can declare victory and bring our troops out of a war. It’s been a long time since that has happened.

Danny Gold: I just realized, is the KRG ready to take in tens of thousands of refugees? This is going to be a disaster.

Bethan McKernan: Turkish and Arabic media have produced maps showing scale of proposed Turkish operation in Kurdish-held Syria. Encompasses purple area – Qamishli, Hasekeh and Kobani, ie, the three main Kurdish towns. Would push Kurdish population south to desert areas held by regime/Isis

Ceng Sagnic: My personal opinion is that the withdrawal information given to WSJ and Reuters is a warning to the PYD in the ongoing negotiations reminding the seriousness of the situation. A sudden withdrawal is possible as a logistical but heavy political responsibility. But it is clear that the United States is forced to election between PYD and Turkey.

Mouaz Moustafa “ISIS has NOT been defeated,” says of the Syrian Emergency Task Force. “I have no idea what the president is talking about.”

Tamer El-Ghobashy, commenting on Trump’s statement: 16 words to end what amounts to an incredibly destructive, consequential and incomplete American mission in Syria.

Ali Ozkok: #Pentagon is distancing itself from Trump, White House and State Department: International coalition liberates IS-controlled territory, but fight against ISIL is not over yet. Not leaving US troops from #Syria?

Mark Dubowitz: December 19, 2018. The date your maximum pressure campaign against Iran turned from a serious effort to a rhetorical joke…that “pulling U.S. troops out of Syria would be a gift to Putin and to the mullahs in Tehran. And it would be a disastrous gift for the region

Jenan Mousa: According to most recent reports, ISIS still has an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 fighters just in Syria & Iraq.

Iyad al-Baghdadi: Reminds of Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” on May 1, 2003.

Hassan Hassan: This tweet will appear on the empty page right after the dedication page in future books: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” — President Donald Trump, December 19, 2018.

Josie Ensor: US withdrawal from northern Syria could force the Kurds into a “deal with the devil”. I spoke to a number of officials during a recent trip there about what happens if Turkey invades and America abandons them

Charles Lister: There is a possibility of an announcement today. That’s if the collective U.S. government is unable to push back against #Trump – as it did earlier in the year after his comments in #Ohio. More than anything, this is an extraordinary insult to the recent efforts of Amb. Jeffrey. isn’t only doing what #Obama did in leaving #Iraq prematurely, he’s doing it in an environment in which #America’s adversaries will benefit: jihadis, #Iran and #Russia. Unbelievable hubris.

Abdulla Hawez: This will not only endanger Kurdish region in Syria but as we’ve seen in Afrin there will be massive displacement of Kurds and Erdogan is going to change the demography by sending back refugees there. YPG must allow other Kurds including Rojava Pesh to join to defend the region.

Michael Weiss: 1. Iran’s land corridor is established. IRGC will have a straight shot from Tehran to the Mediterranean for the first time since 1979….see thread

Nicholas Heras: A Syrian contact who works on projects in N/E Syria and who recently met with Turkish officials tells me the Turks were bragging that Turkey knew about Trump’s decision on U.S. forces before the Pentagon and State Department did. That’s…disturbing.

Nicholas Danforth: I don’t think Washington “owed” the YPG an indefinite military presence in Syria, but it did owe them a competent decision making process and a well planned withdrawal…At the same time, Turkey, Russia and Iran just lost the one common interest that united them in Syria.

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