KRG president reiterates gratitude to US forces amid controversial Syria withdrawal
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani released a statement on Monday expressing the autonomous Kurdish region’s gratitude to American forces.
The statement came following scenes in the Kurdistan Region capital where people hurled stones at US convoys, which had left northern Syria.
Videos shared on social media showed people throwing rocks and other items and yelling profanity at the American vehicles.
In a statement his press office released, President Barzani said the KRG “understands the high emotions of our people,” but said the Kurdish government appreciates “the role and contribution of the coalition forces, especially the United States military.”
“The US-led coalition forces have played a major role in protecting and assisting the people of the Kurdistan Region, starting from establishing [a] no-fly zone in 1991, toppling the Ba’ath regime in 2003, to defeating ISIS terror group in the past few years,” the statement read.
American troops “have fought and bled alongside the Peshmerga forces in defending the Kurdistan Region,” President Barzani stated.
“The Kurdistan Region reiterates its appreciation to the US-led coalition forces and our continued partnership in the fight against ISIS.”
Many have criticized Washington for abandoning their Kurdish allies in Syria who fought alongside the coalition to defeat the so-called Islamic State.
A controversial US-brokered ceasefire has temporarily paused heavy clashes between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces, an offensive which began on Oct. 9.
Related Article: US announces northeast Syria ceasefire, but many questions remain
Ankara wants the Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the People’s Protection Units (YPG), to withdraw from the Turkish border up to about 32 kilometers southward.
As per the purported ceasefire, the YPG, whom Turkey considers an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and, therefore, a terrorist organization, has 120 hours to make its withdrawal, which started on Friday. The ceasefire expires on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, as the US withdraws from Syria, Russia is stepping into the vacuum, politically, as well as militarily.
On the ground in Syria, both regime forces and their Russian supporters have moved into areas that American troops have evacuated.