As the first reports of atrocities committed by Turkish-backed forces against Syrian Kurds emerged on Saturday, a top Kurdish military leader has warned the United States that the Kurds may now be forced to form an alliance with Russia simply to save themselves from being "slaughtered" by Turkey -- a stunning new development that one expert, University College of London political scientist Brain Klaas, described on his Twitter account as not only "awful for US interests in the region," but perhaps more importantly, "yet another massive gift from Trump to Putin."
Donald Trump last week ordered U.S. forces to pull back from the Syrian border, a move that has cleared the way for a Turkish assault on Kurds in the region. The Kurds have been close allies with the United States in the war against the terror group ISIS in Syria, and have done most of the fighting on the ground and suffered most of the casualties in the conflict.
Kurdish troops are also responsible for guarding hundreds of ISIS captives, leading to fears that the captured terrorists will now simply escape and reform their largely crippled terrorist organization, The Inquisitr reported.
According to NBC News correspondent Richard Engel, via Twitter, Turkish-backed Arab militias have reportedly begun committing atrocities in the region, summarily executing Kurds.
Engel said that United States military officials confirmed the reports of atrocities. The U.S. officials "are DEEPLY concerned it opens the door to BOTH ethnic cleansing of Kurds and return of ISIS/Al-Qaeda," Engel wrote.
On Friday, reports also emerged that Turkish forces had shelled American troops with artillery fire, as The Inquisitr also reported. Though initial reports said that the shelling, which did not injure any American troops, was a "mistake" by Turkish forces, the former U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS was suspicious that the shelling was carried out in error.
"Turkey knows all of our locations down to the precise grid coordinate," said Brett McGurk, as quoted by The Inquisitr. "This was not a mistake."
While an estimate of Kurdish casualties resulting from the Turkish invasion is not yet know, the Kurdish news agency Kurdistan 24 reported Saturday that one of the top women in the Kurdish leadership, the Future Syria Party Secretary-General Hevrin Khalaf, had been executed in an ambush by Turkish-backed mercenaries.
"She was taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions," a statement by the Syrian Democratic Council read. "Her driver was also martyred."
Kurdish military leader General Mazloum Kobani Abdi told U.S. officials this week that Trump's decision was "leaving us to be slaughtered," and that the Kurds would make a deal with Russia to bring in warplanes to provide air cover to help the Kurdish forces escape the Turkish assault, according to documents cited by CNN.