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October 14, 2019

President Trump has ordered the withdrawal of American troops in Syria and the public is watching things unfold on television, wondering what is going on? The conflict is the result of a civil war in Syria, now in its 8th year, having come about as a result Russia and Iran’s intervention.

Bashar al-Assad has been able to survive and take back part of the nation he lost at the outset of the war, but there are opposition forces known as TFSA in the northwest backed by Turkey. Among this 80,000 to 100,000 group are former Al-Qaida and ISIS fighters which belong to the Sunni faction of Islam. They hate the Kurds since they are secular Muslims and allow women to be part of the armed forces.

The Kurdish forces in Northeastern Syria numbering 60,000 are known as SDF. They were recruited by the U.S. to fight against ISIS and acted as the ground troops of the American coalition.  The U.S. had a small force of some 1,000 soldiers training and guiding the  SDF forces. American airpower came from carriers and air bases in Iraq.

There were artillery units among the U.S. forces but the US troops basically moved around in lightly armored vehicles. The devastating firepower came from Air Force planes.

The SDF was never given any heavy weapons due to resistance from Turkey that hates the Kurds.

The Turkish onslaught came with aircraft and artillery, augmented with tanks. Turkey did not want to use its own soldiers in the ground fighting and unleashed the fanatical TFSA fighters, who behave just like ISIS, slaughtering and murdering captured fighters and civilians.



According to the Geneva Convention, a nation must first declare war in order to invade another nation. When President Trump decided to wipe out ISIS, he ordered American troops to enter Syria without such a declaration. That means that the United States was illegally in Syria according to the Geneva Convention.

The troops sent in by President Trump functioned more as advisors and trainers and had no heavy weapons like tanks. Furthermore, it was only a small force of some 1,000 men.

If Trump had ordered the US troops to fight alongside the SDF, they would have been matched up against 100,000 Muslim fanatics. The American built fighter-bombers flown by Turkish pilots would have caused havoc and they would certainly have faced American tanks and artillery manned by Turkish soldiers.

Trump could have called in airstrikes on the Turks but that would have meant the U.S. was at war with a NATO nation. The Turkish president is a fanatical Muslim and he has shown his ruthlessness and mocking of the United States.

The United States has an airbase at Incirlik in Turkey, some 22 miles from the coast of the Mediterranean and fairly close to Syria. There are around 5,000 U.S. Air Force personnel and nuclear weapons on this base which is under Turkish control and the Americans are guests.

During the 2016 Turkish coup attempt, President Erdogan shut off the electrical power to the base. He could easily take control of this base since there are no U.S. heavy combat troops stationed at the base. This gives Erdogan the ability to blackmail the United States about the nuclear weapons stored on Turkish soil.


My conclusion is that President Trump did not have a choice. The small force of 1,000 soliders would have been slaughtered just like General Custer and his army group.

The situation in Syria was never a win-win as President Trump only wanted to take out ISIS; he just did not figure that Erdogan would stab him in the back.

Please read the following articles for more information and a deeper background into the events of the Middle East.

john s. torell, isis, islamic state of iraq and syria, the ugly face of islam



From the Desk of John S. Torell





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