President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior is continuing to have devastating effects around the world. In recent days, he abruptly ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, where they’d been fighting alongside Kurds against ISIS. Now, with the subsequent Turkish invasion of the region that Trump allowed to happen by opening up a void, reports are circulating of some 750 ISIS-affiliated individuals escaping Kurdish detention in the chaos that’s ensued, although the precise number is definitely in question.
Especially combined with the reports of ISIS fighters themselves escaping from captivity, these escapees could help rebuild the terror group that so much has been given up to fight against, including the lives of over 10,000 Kurds — who the Trump administration has now abandoned to be slaughtered by an invading Turkish army.
As The Guardian puts it:
‘At least 750 people with suspected links to Islamic State have reportedly fled a displacement camp in north-east Syria, local officials have said, raising fears that the Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in the area could lead Isis to regain strength amid the chaos.’
The detained individuals included “women and children” who started a riot after Turkish shelling struck near the site of their detention. Although no ISIS adult men were reportedly even present, the co-chair of the camp’s management Jelal Ayaf said that “sleeper cells” sprang into action in the melee sparked by the Turkish shelling and attacked guards who hadn’t already fled.
The operation that gave cover for this escape consists of a Turkish force apparently with at least 15,000 fighters. In the operation that as of this weekend is less than one week old, 130,000 people have reportedly already been displaced — a full 130,000 (and counting, of course). At least 14 Syrian civilians have died and 46 have been confirmed as “seriously injured,” according to a local humanitarian organization, and in counterattacks, the Kurds have reportedly killed 9 people via shelling Turkish border towns.
On paper, the goal of the ongoing Turkish military operation is the establishment of a buffer zone between Syrian Kurds and Turkish territory. The Turkish government argues that Syrian Kurdish forces are a terror group that should be addressed accordingly, and they have concurrently already extended their operation well outside of the previously proposed buffer zone.
Trump, meanwhile, seems to be none the wiser about the whole thing. He’s insisted that his decision keeps the U.S. from being involved in more “endless wars,” pointing to the supposed long history of the conflict between the Turks and Kurds as if that’s a reasonable excuse for abruptly withdrawing support and simply standing back to watch as the whole situation comes tumbling down.
On Twitter Sunday, he railed:
‘Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change. Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?’
He has separately said there’s no reason to be concerned about escaped ISIS fighters because they’ll supposedly just go to Europe — as if that’s supposed to be reassuring.
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