TANUSHREE PODDAR, NP NEWS 24 ONLINE: US troops have largely been stationed in the Kurdish region in northern Syria. A partnership with an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, is credited with playing a major role in the virtual elimination of IS after it overran large swathes of Syria four years ago, imposing a brutal rule on almost eight million people in the country and neighboring Iraq.
The Trump administration’s sudden decision to order the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria has caught the U.S. national security establishment by surprise with many experts calling the decision a mistake.
Syria has been at war since the last seven years, and if anything it is getting worse. A peaceful protest turned into a civil war and this is the key to understand what is really going on.
Who is involved?
Syria has a various small organization which rebels to the government. President Bashar Al Assad is backed up by Russia as well as Iran and various powerful Shia militias. On the other side, there are rebels fighting against two of the biggest are called Jaysh Al Islam and Ahrar Al-Sham. Up in the North’s are the Kurds, an ethnic group spread right across the region and hold large areas of the north of the country that alias of the US whereas there’s Turkey which is fighting Kurdish forces and Israel which is launching airstrikes in the south and finally the Islamic State group, the fanatical jihadist who took over large parts of Syria and Iraq, grabbing the world’s attention with their brutality. They have lost almost all their territory but still are in threat.
Why are people fighting?
Since the very start, Assad had one objective- ‘staying in power’ and is prepared to do anything to achieve it. Although he denies it, the west has accused him and his forces responsible for war crimes for indiscriminate bombing and chemical weapon causing conflict deaths. Assad claims them to be the ‘terrorist’ where they call themselves ‘rebels’ and their only aim is to overthrow him.
There are more than 20 million across the region, but they never had their own state. One of the reasons why Syria is such a mess because it has become a proxy war for international powers.
Assad is Russia’s closest ally in the region and if he falls, Russia would lose its grip on Middle east which they cannot afford. While the US, Turkey, and Gulf states offered support to the various rebel groups but Russia and Iran decided to support Assad and will make sure he wins but, sadly, no one is actually talking about Assad.
Where the US always said it wanted him to leave but never took any action to make it happen. The rise of IS with horrific propaganda was a far more straightforward enemy and became the focus. Whereas, the US worked with trained and armed a group called the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’, where they were crucial in driving IS out of north-eastern Syria.
Another side, Turkey played the main role in giving shelter to millions of Syrians who fled during the conflict but also supported the rebel group ‘Free Syrian Army’ and accused of supporting jihadist.
Turkey launched a war against people’s protection unit who they claimed to be the terrorist but the people’s protection unit are the same fighters who are armed by and allied with the US. As a consequence, Turkey is now working closely with Russia.
Interestingly, in 2003, the U.S. military, on orders of President Bush, invaded Iraq, and nineteen days later threw out Saddam’s government and decreed the dissolution of the Iraqi Army and placed American military there but in 2011, Barak Obama, declared to remove all the military troops from Iraq which is claimed to be one of the reasons behind ISIS growth. Now, a similar decision is taken by Trump.
The question is will this improve the condition? Or make it worst?