Syrian Kurds facing bombing attacks from Turkish military jets have issued an urgent plea to U.S. troops for air support to protect civilians, but the American military has been ordered by Donald Trump not to help.
The conflict is playing out in northern Syria just days after Trump announced that he would be moving U.S. troops out of the area and allowing Turkey to commence with its long-awaited military operation in the region. The attacks intensified on Wednesday as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces reported that a Turkish aerial bombardment had destroyed homes and so far left at least two civilians dead. As CNN noted, the SDF has been offering live updates of the attack through Twitter, noting that Turkish troops were attacking areas near the Bouzra dam in Derik, which provides water to hundreds of thousands of civilians in northern Syria.
The SDF has issued a plea to U.S. troops to offer air support to protect civilians in the region, but FOX News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported on Twitter that the military has been ordered by Donald Trump not to help.
As USA Today reported, the SDF had built fortifications and moved heavy weapons into the region in order to protect against a Turkish attack that had long been reported to be coming, but had removed them in a recent agreement with Turkey and the United States. The three sides agreed to joint military patrols along the 78-mile security zone, the report noted.
Kurdish forces say they now feel betrayed by Donald Trump.
“Despite our efforts to avoid any military escalation with Turkey, the flexibility we have shown to move forward with the establishment of the border security mechanism, and the fulfillment of all our obligations in this regard, the US forces did not fulfill their obligations and withdrew their forces from the territories bordering with Turkey,” the SDF said in a statement.
The US military has been ordered by President Trump not to help. https://t.co/Fm0J7H9BBJ
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) October 9, 2019
Donald Trump has come under fire from both sides of the aisle for the decision to stand down in Syria and allow Turkey to commence its military operation. Many have expressed worry that the move could reverse the progress that had been made in dismantling ISIS, an operation that had been led mostly by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish military in the region also oversees a series of prisons and camps where ISIS fighters are held and where families are stationed, and there is now worry that they could abandon these posts to focus on protecting against the Turkish attack, allowing the ISIS fighters to go free.