US Amb: Trump Admin Enabled Commission Of War Crimes Against Our Kurdish Allies
Former U.S. ambassador Brett McGurk, who has served in senior national security positions under presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, outlined in a Twitter thread on Thursday how the Trump administration enabled the commission of war crimes against the Kurds by abruptly pulling U.S. troops out of Syria.
- “Trump today said ‘nothing happened’ when he handed 2/3 of ISIS’s former caliphate in Syria to Erdogan and Putin, leaving our partners to fend for themselves, and displacing 200k people fleeing bands of extremists responsible for war crimes,” McGurk began.
- He then pointed to a 2019 Washington Post story outlining the reality of Trump’s decision.
- The Post wrote,
On Oct. 6, the White House announced that the United States would not stand in the way of a Turkish military offensive to remove the SDF near Turkey’s border, despite two years of U.S. troops effectively serving in the area as a guard against just that.
The Pentagon pulled about 50 service members away from two Syrian border towns before the offensive began, and Trump ordered a quick withdrawal of the remaining 1,000 U.S. troops in northern Syria on Saturday after the violence spiraled out of control and SDF leaders who had relied on the United States sought help from the Syrian regime, which is backed by Russia and Iran.
“I can’t even look at the atrocities,” an Army officer who served in Syria last year said of videos posted online of Turkish-backed fighters executing Kurdish civilians. “The ISIS mission is going to stop, ISIS is going to have a resurgence, and we’re going to have to go back in five years and do it all again.”
- The Post noted that “The U.S.-backed militia has been one of America’s closest partners in the war against the Islamic State since 2014, and some 11,000 Kurdish fighters have been killed in combat against the terrorist group.”
- McGurk also wrote that Trump claimed “nobody died” as a result of his decision, which the former ambassador said “would come as news to the families of those executed in cold blood as the US military abruptly abandoned its posts on Trump’s orders.”
- He pointed to a 2019 Wall Street Journal report, which said: “U.S. military officials watched live drone feeds in October that appeared to show Turkish-backed Arab gunmen targeting civilians during their assault on Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, attacks the Americans reported to their commanders as possible war crimes, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the incidents said.”
- The Journal continued, saying the footage had become “a focal point of a broader debate within the Trump administration over how to address mounting concerns by U.S. officials that the Turkish-backed fighters could commit more war crimes if the U.S. doesn’t do more to stop them.”
Another U.S. official said the Trump administration was aware of one “clear-cut case of prisoners with tied hands being shot” by Turkish-backed forces and a dozen other allegations reported by Kurdish-forces and local aid workers that are still being investigated by human-rights groups.
The Turkish assault in northeastern Syria began on Oct. 9, three days after Mr. Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from the area. U.S. concerns about the actions of Turkish-backed fighters began almost immediately, officials said.
- McGurk also noted that Trump said in recent remarks that U.S. troops “left [Syria] except we kept the oil” and it “worked out very well.”
- He then pointed to a video from two days ago showing that U.S. forces were in a firefight with Syrian regime forces.
- McGurk added: “The US military statement about the firefight says nothing about ‘keeping oil’ because it knows such a mission would be illegal. Trump has no idea our troops are now forced to navigate checkpoints manned by Syrian and Russian forces on a regular basis.”
- In a final tweet, McGurk offered his conclusion:
Bottom Line: We have a commander-in-chief who has NO CLUE what’s going on with US troops under his command and in harm’s way. His own SECDEF consistently says they’re doing something different from what he says they’re doing. This is totally incoherent and dangerous.