Strangle it before it is born. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of Turkey and United States ally, brings a ghoulish image to mind as he refers to the United States military in the region. Coalition forces are planning to create a security force patrolling the border fence in northern Syria. Comprised of nearly 30,000 Kurdish fighters, many are veterans in the war on terror.
The quick rise to power of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took the unstable region by storm after the Arab Spring. Using the abandoned American military equipment in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Daesh) took advantage of the civil unrest of the region and swiftly moved on oil fields and ancient archeological sites.
As Middle Eastern Countries were in disarray the Islamic State created a caliphate funded by drugs, oil, and artifacts. The war raged for seven years, yet it only took one year under President Trump to remove the jihadists from the region.
The war in Syria is all but over and the steps towards reconstruction and security are being made by the Assad regime backed by Russia and Iran. Coalition forces consisting of other Security Council members are also operating within the sovereign nation. In an attempt to cut off the retreat of militants, a security force is being created to patrol the northern border.
The mountainous region of northern Syria shares a border with both Iraq and Turkey. Residing in the isolated region are the ethnic Kurds. A historically persecuted group, the Kurdish people have suffered at the hands multiple regimes over multiple decades.
The level of atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein against the region helped incite the United States intervention during Operation Desert Storm in the first Iraq War. The level of brutality experienced under Hafez al-Assad contributed to the label of an oppressive regime against the Syrian leader.
Turkey has battled so long with the Kurdish people they have been labeled a terrorist organization. In a battle for complete control, the Kurdish political party People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their militant arm, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been entrenched with insurgency against Turkey since 1984. The Kurds are fighting for equal rights under Turkish law and autonomy for the region.
Battle hardened and fighting for a cause, the Kurds were the one people able to retain their land against the blitzkrieg of ISIS fighters. If not for the regional power, the radical Muslim extremists would have pushed their way through into Turkey and Iran.
The 30,000 forces being reassigned to guard the border have been denounced by leaders of Turkey and Syria as a blatant invasion. President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad has successfully regained control of most cities and resources in the country. He has vowed to crush the Kurdish army. Assad has declared victory in his war to maintain the stability of his country and control of the secular government.
Ankara, once participating in coalition forces, has yet to declare a victory. Turkish president, Erdogan has made moves in the last few years to cement his role as dictator of the once European Union hopeful. Making it a crime to insult the leader, people who speak out against the apartheid state are quickly detained.
Erdogan issued harsh words alluding to the waning relationship between Washington and the Muslim nation. Fearing the breakup of his territory, the Turkish leader declared the war will not end until every terrorist is dead.
The United States has been coordinating with the Kurdish people going back half a decade. By providing armament and training, small contingents of special forces have been among the people assisting in the regional security against the caliphate. The logistical air support provided to the fighters have all been denounced by Turkey.
By using the people who live in the area to secure their region, the United States military is taking extra ordinary steps in their policy of policing the Middle East. After witnessing the failures of Iraq, the president wants proven soldiers on the ground who have a stake in the area they are fighting.
The training of Kurdish fighters should be seen as an international accolade. While Washington still refuses to recognize the autonomy of the Kurdish people, helping to bolster their forces proves the character and empathy of the Commander in Chief.