Fury in Qamishli as US troops leave the city https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/21102019 ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Qamishli residents express fury at US soldiers in northeast Syria .
Dramatic footage emerged on Monday of angry Kurdish residents in northeastern Syria throwing tomatoes at the US troops withdrawing from the area seemingly bringing to an end a five year alliance that saw the territorial defeat of Islamic State (ISIS).
Angered residents can be heard shouting “no, no” in unison as the armored vehicles try to pass through a small crowd in the city of Qamishli in northeast Syria. A young bearded man shouts “what happened to you” at one of the soldiers atop one armored vehicle.
Turkey launched an air campaign against the US allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on October 7 hours after President Recept Tayyip Erdogan told President Donald Trump that he was going to invade northern Syria.
Turkey sees the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed force which has fought the Turkish state for decades in pursuit of more rights for the Kurdish minority in Turkey.
The SDF has been a critical partner of the US- led international coalition, losing over 11,000 men and women during the five grueling years against ISIS. The Kurds say President Trump’s green light to President Erdogan to invade northern Syria would cause ethnic cleansing.
“America” could be heard as people start an inaudible chant in unison. “America runs away like a mouse, the Americans are running away like mice” a tall man with a photo of a SDF fighter pinned to his chest shouts as he runs towards the fleeing vehicle.
The city has been the site of multiple atrocities as the Turkish airforce bombed the city including the maiming of an 8-year old child and the death of her 11-year old brother as they played outside. The city’s Christian community has almost entirely fled the area.
A US soldier was photographed on Sunday wearing a badge of the female contingent of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPJ) as soldiers left the town of Tel Tamr. Troops also withdrew from the city of Raqqa, supposedly heading to Iraq to join 5,000 US troops against the ongoing threat of an Islamic State (ISIS) resurgence.
US troops have described the withdrawal as a “stain on the American conscience” as Kurdish forces, the US’ strongest ally in the fight against ISIS, have been left to fight a Turkish incursion.
Residents were previously seen holding placards lamenting the US withdrawal leaving Kurds to face Turkish brutality across the region. “Tell your children that the children of the Kurds were killed by the Turks and we did nothing to protect them,” one read.
As the American convoy passed through the crowd another could be heard shouting “the Americans are cowards.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was critical of abandoning the Kurdish allies said on Sunday that he was increasingly optimistic that there could be “some historic solutions” in the volatile region.
He called on the US to "make sure we have a demilitarized zone between Turkey and the Kurds," adding that "the Kurds were the allies who helped us defeat ISIS. They lost 10,000 soldiers, we’ve lost eight in four years, God bless the eight, but it was the Kurds who did most of the fighting,” Graham said.
“Protect our NATO ally Turkey from elements of the Kurds that they consider to be terrorists," the senator added, calling for a "demilitarized zone occupied by international forces, no Americans, but we provide airpower.”
"Everything that has ever happened to us is there to make us stronger."