A US commando who fought alongside the Kurds has said his former comrades have been sold out to the “playground bully”.
The former special forces soldier says he is “embarrassed” at Donald Trump’s decision to allow Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish-held Syrian territory.
Turkey moved into northern Syria on Wednesday after Trump pulled US troops out of the area – to face the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who they see as a terrorist organisation.
Until then, the US military had been training the SDF and built up a close relationship with the Kurds, who defeated ISIS earlier this year, at the cost of 11,000 lives.
But speaking to Military Times, the anonymous soldier said: “I am embarrassed. I am at a loss for words. Seventy-two hours ago, we were running patrols together.
“Then, all of a sudden, the playground bully comes along and we ran away from our brothers, leaving them to fight the bully all by themselves.”
The former commando now works with the SDF through a non-governmental organisation.
He praised the Kurds as “great soldiers” with “probably the closest Western mentality for ethics that you could find in that region of the world”.
He said in joint SDF-US missions to hunt ISIS targets, the Kurds who would take the lead.
Trump’s decision is “completely idiotic” he said, adding: “We have seized all of eastern Syria and isolated the Assad regime from the Russians and Iranians.
“Now we are just going to open a ground bridge between Iran and the Mediterranean.”
Meanwhile, a former US Marine who served in Syria told Foreign Policy of his anger at Trump’s decision.
“I feel physically ill with worry and concern and deeply ashamed that my own country would permit this fate to befall our close allies who did all our fighting for us, when we had the power to prevent it,” he said.
Their views were echoed by Briton Macer Gifford, who fought ISIS alongside the Kurds and said abandoning them to Turkey is a “betrayal” of brave UK citizens who gave their lives.
Macer, from Cambridge, spent three years in the country after travelling out in 2015 to help battle ISIS.
Britons who died include Jac Holmes, Eric Scurfield and the "incredibly passionate" Anna Campbell, who was killed in a Turkish airstrike after travelling out with Macer.
ISIS was virtually defeated earlier this year by the US-backed SDF but sustained cells have launched frequent attacks in civilian areas and sprawling refugee camps.
It's feared the 15,000 jihadis being held by SDF forces in Syria, including at the Al-Hawl camp, could be set free in prison breaks carried out by sleeper cells.
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