Residents Of Syrian City Pelt Retreating U.S. Troops With Food

Residents of Syrian city pelt retreating US troops with food

The Guardian · by Associated Press · October 21, 2019

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US troops pelted with rotten fruit and stones as they leave Syria – video

Residents have pelted apparently retreating US troops with food as they drove through a Kurdish-dominated city in Syria.

A video by a Kurdish news agency, posted on Monday, shows a convoy of US armoured vehicles driving through Qamishli. Angry residents pelted the vehicles, shouting “No America” and “America liar” in English.

“Like rats, America is running away,” one man shouted in Arabic. Another shouted obscenities and talked of babies in Kurdish-held Syria who had died in the Turkish offensive.

The scene encapsulated the Kurds’ feelings of betrayal and added a new indignity to a US withdrawal that has been rushed and involved several close brushes with Turkish-backed forces.

The Kurds were stunned when Donald Trump abruptly decided two weeks ago to pull US troops out of border areas, abandoning the Kurdish-backed fighters who as US allies had performed the bulk of the ground fighting against Islamic State. After the Turkish assault began on 9 October, Trump ordered a general withdrawal from Syria.

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Trump calls decision to withdraw US troops from Syria ‘strategically brilliant’ – videoAt another location, near the town of Tal Tamr, a group of protesters held up banners to departing US troops on Sunday, according to an Associated Press video. One man blocked the way of a US van with a poster reading: “Thanks for US people, but Trump betrayed us.”

The US president has said he was bringing troops home from “endless wars” in the Middle East but the US defence secretary, Mark Esper, said all US troops would withdraw to western Iraq and continue operations against Isis.

Esper said on Monday he was discussing an option that would keep a small residual US military force in Syria to secure oil fields and continue the fight against Isis, but he had not yet made a final decision or presented the option to Trump.

A ceasefire negotiated by the US to allow Kurdish-led forces to evacuate from a Turkish-designated “safe zone” 20 miles (32 km) south of its border with Syria for the 75 miles (121 km) between the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad expires on Tuesday.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, renewed warnings that his country would resume its military offensive in north-east Syria if Kurdish fighters did not vacate the region before then.

Kurdish officials have accused Turkey of violating the ceasefire, saying it has shelled border villages, while Turkey has accused Syrian Kurdish groups of 30 live fire violations of the truce, which killed one Turkish soldier.

Most Kurdish civilians have fled Ras al-Ain, fearing killings or repression by Turkish-backed forces, and any still in the territory that the Kurdish fighters are leaving are likely to do the same.

A senior Kurdish official, Redur Khalil, called for an international mechanism to protect Kurdish civilians who wanted to stay in their towns after Kurdish-led fighters left.

Turkey says it wants to return Syrian refugees to the areas evacuated by Kurdish forces. A crucial meeting between the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday is expected to further address arrangements along the Syria-Turkish border.

The Guardian · by Associated Press · October 21, 2019

One comment

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