U.S. Troops Leave Syria: Effects and Reverberations


Zein al Rifaiz/AFP via Getty Images

Alyssa Buchheit, Editor in Chief

On October 6, 2019, President Trump announced that he is pulling U.S. troops from the border between northeastern Syria and Turkey. Just three days later, Turkey launched their “Operation Peace Spring” assault against Syrian Kurdish forces, as they had long planned an offensive, wanting to get rid of Kurdish separatists in Turkey and Syrian refugees living inside their borders.

The Syrian Kurdish forces have been America’s partner in fighting ISIS, and the vulnerability of the forces on their own has worried millions about the potential return of the terrorist group on the battlefield. Our Kurdish allies have had to reallocate resources, shoring up ISIS prisons and camps in their territory to make sure they can hastily build up their defense on the border with Turkey.

While most U.S. troops have left Syria, some have remained behind to secure oil from the Syrian oil reserves. In addition, an operation against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi continued, ending Sunday with the announcement that Baghdadi died in an overnight U.S. military operation, delivering a major blow to the terrorist group. While the chance of an imminent attack by ISIS without their leader is slim, the deaths of past terrorist leaders have not led to total victory.

Along with these reverberations of the pull, a safe zone has been established between Turkey and the Kurdish population in Syria to “ensure peace and security,” U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told a Heritage Foundation gala in Washington.

There are no easy answers to the war in Syria or to the tensions between the Turks and the Kurds. While we do not know all that will occur due to the United States stepping out of Syria, we can all band together and pray for an end to violence in the Middle East.