Small Wars Journal

Kurds Pull Back from ISIS Fight in Syria, Saying They Feel Let Down by U.S.

Kurds Pull Back from ISIS Fight in Syria, Saying They Feel Let Down by U.S. by Liz Sly – Washington Post

BEIRUT — U.S.-allied forces in eastern Syria said Tuesday that they are withdrawing from the front lines of the war against the Islamic State in order to battle the United States’ NATO ally Turkey elsewhere in the country, jeopardizing the fight against the militants.

Citing disappointment with the United States, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they were pulling fighters off the front lines in the province of Deir al-Zour, where Islamic State fighters have been putting up a fierce fight in a pocket of territory on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. The holdouts there are thought to include some of the most senior leaders of the organization who escaped the cities of Mosul and Raqqa last year, U.S. officials say.

The move follows an effort by the Trump administration to assuage Turkish ire over the U.S. military’s close relationship with Syrian Kurdish forces. Those forces have been instrumental in the capture of vast swaths of territory from the Islamic State over the past three years, including the militants’ self-styled capital of Raqqa…

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