Spilling Blood in War on ISIS, Kurds Pay Heavy Price for U.S.-Turkey Ties

(Ha'aretz) Zvi Bar'el - One day after the U.S. threatened to withdraw its support, Kurdish forces withdrew from Manbij, Syria, one of the Islamic State's most important strongholds, which had been taken by Kurdish forces under cover of American air support in a battle that won them accolades for their important victory. An official in the Kurdish administration in Iraq told Ha'aretz that the American threat "conveys a frustrating and dangerous message not only to the Kurds in Syria but to the entire Kurdish people, who are spilling blood in the war against ISIS and were relying on the U.S. government to stand by them." The U.S. is preparing assaults on ISIS in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqah, in Syria. On both fronts, its plans depend on massive cooperation on the part of Kurdish forces. We will see how the Kurds operate after the slap in the face they received this week. Over the past year, Russia has become an ally of the Kurds in Syria. Last week Moscow initiated a cease-fire between the Syrian regime and the Kurds in the Hasakah region in northeastern Syria. Ostensibly this was merely a local accord, but its special importance is that it strengthened the standing of Russia, which - unlike the U.S. - can establish a cease-fire, create areas of quiet, and translate its aerial assaults into achievements on the ground.

2016-08-26 00:00:00

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