ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) condemned the decision by the Trump administration to allow Turkish forces to invade northeastern Syria.
The denouncement follows a White House statement made late Sunday explaining that US forces would withdraw from areas in northern Syria where Turkey is moving ahead with a long-threatened military operation.
“We call upon Congress, the US military, and the international community to oppose this decision, and we call upon President Trump to reverse this decision,” said the SDC in a statement released on Monday.
“Our brave men and women with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have just won a historic victory over the ISIS ‘caliphate,’ a victory announced by President Trump and celebrated across the world.”
“To abandon us now would be tragic,” it continued. “To disregard our partnership would also send a clear signal to all would-be partner forces of the United States that a US alliance may not be trustworthy.”
Washington SDC representative Sinam Mohammed wrote in a tweet that it would be a “disaster to allow Turkey [to] invade Northeast Syria, threatening its 5 million inhabitants.”
“We will be facing a grave humanitarian disaster if the Senate does not make a resolution to stop it. Don’t allow a repeat of the Turkish invasion of Afrin.”
The Turkish military and its local Syrian rebel allies have been occupying the predominantly-Kurdish city of Afrin since early 2018, resulting in the displacement of some 170,000 residents.
“Their military and militias have committed grave atrocities and human rights abuses there. We do not want a repeat of the invasion and occupation of Afrin,” said the SDC.
The council says it is now afraid thousands could be displaced from northeastern Syria as a result of a new Turkish invasion that would, most likely, cause large numbers to flee across the Iraqi border to seek refuge in the Kurdistan Region.
“We assure that any Turkish attack will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and a large wave of displacement,” the SDC continued.
The council argued that the SDF has been a committed local partner to the United States in the battle against the Islamic State, stating, “We have very actively participated in good faith with the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.”
The SDC also added that security agreement made in August between them, the US, and Turkey, “involved the withdrawal of our military forces from the Turkey-Syria border. Within the past two months, we withdrew our forces and complied with this agreement.”
“We made this agreement to avoid war, a war that will lead to suffering and human rights abuses for all Syrian people. We now call upon the United States government to support its allies.”
Following the White House statement, the General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday vowed to defend their land “at all costs.”
On Monday evening, the SDF started to withdraw forces from the Omar oilfield in Deir al-Zor, a location that also hosts US troops.
The SDF in the past warned that if attacked by Turkey, it would be forced to withdraw forces from other territories such as Raqqa and Deir al-Zor to the border in order to defend itself. After the US started to pull out a small number of troops from along the border in the towns of al-Abyad and Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ain), it began this process.
Editing by John J. Catherine