Small Wars Journal

They Were ‘Comrades in Arms’ Against ISIS. Now the U.S. Is Eyeing the Exit.

They Were ‘Comrades in Arms’ Against ISIS. Now the U.S. Is Eyeing the Exit. By Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt – New York Times

Dressed in camouflage and sipping tea, the Syrian commander who emerged as America’s closest ally in the battle that defeated Islamic State looked to an unsettling future.

The commander, the Kurdish leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces, known by the nom de guerre Mazlum Kobani, praised his alliance with the United States in a rare interview recently and said he hoped American troops would stay in Syria.

But if they do not, he said, he is still fully prepared to defend his militia’s hard-fought gains during years of fighting the terrorist group.

“We were comrades in arms — we are on the same front fighting ISIS,” he said of the Americans, sitting in a furnished trailer in a compound that once belonged to the Syrian state oil company.

Now he is worried about a swift withdrawal, pointing to the American departure from Iraq in 2011, which was followed by the rise of Islamic State…

Read on.