A retired four-star Marine general said that Donald Trump has “blood on his hands” for abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria to undefended attacks from the Turkish military.
Trump announced last week that he was moving a small contingent of U.S. special forces from the Turkish border, allowing Turkey’s military to launch its long-awaited military operation in the northern part of Syria. Turkey considers the Kurdish forces to be terrorists, though they have been American allies in the fight against ISIS, taking on the brunt of the on-the-ground fighting.
The decision has come under widespread criticism, with many former U.S. military members speaking out. On Sunday, retired four-star Marine General John Allen, the former commander of American forces in Afghanistan and special presidential envoy for the global fight against ISIS, said that Trump is directly to blame for the current bombardment of America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria.
“There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies,” Gen. Allen told CNN.
Allen went on to say that Trump was wrong to trust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to attack America’s allies, as it was long-known that Turkey had planned to launch military operations against the mostly-secular group that is in charge of a semi-autonomous region in the north of Syria.
“There was no chance Erdogan would keep his promise, and full blown ethnic cleansing is underway by Turkish supported militias,” Allen said.
“This is what happens when Trump follows his instincts and because of his alignment with autocrats.”
Others have slammed Trump for actions that experts say will allow ISIS to regroup in the region. The Kurdish forces have been guarding a series of prisons in northern Syria where ISIS militants are held, and already some have been able to escape as the Kurdish forces retreat and focus on attacks from Turkey’s military.
Many other former high-ranking military members have slammed Trump for the decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria. Brett McGurk, who worked as a top adviser for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama and last year resigned from his position as special envoy on ISIS to Donald Trump, has also become one of Trump’s most vocal critics on Syria. McGurk tweeted this week that Trump is “not a Commander-in-Chief” and that he makes impulsive decisions without knowledge or deliberation. Last week’s Syria withdrawal was announced hours after Trump had a phone call with Turkish President Erdogan, and the move reportedly came as a shock to the Pentagon.