Turkey and the Kurds: It’s More Complicated Than You Think

U.S. Army soldiers walk during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol near Tel Abyad, Syria, September 8, 2019. (Rodi Said/Reuters)
We are grateful for the Kurds’ help, and we should try to help them in return. But no one wants to risk war with Turkey.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O n Monday, President Trump announced that a contingent of fewer than 100 U.S. troops in Syria was being moved away from Kurdish-held territory on the border of Turkey. The move effectively green-lighted military operations by Turkey against the Kurds, which have now commenced.

Some U.S. military officials went public with complaints about being “blindsided.” The policy cannot have been a surprise, though. The president has made no secret that he wants out of Syria, where we now have about 1,000 troops (down from over 2,000 last year). More broadly, he wants our forces out of the Middle East. He ran on

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