Brett McGurk, former special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS, has said that the U.S. should not abandon the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Speaking to Rudaw, the former envoy said that it’s important for U.S. troops to stay in northern Syria, while cautioning the SDF to not trust the U.S. until the end, citing President Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops from the area in October 2019.
Trump’s decision to withdraw troops paved the way for Ankara to carry out an offensive in northern Syria against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) -the main group within the SDF.
Turkey perceives the YPG as a terror group due to it being the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, Washington and the European Union.
Trump’s decision came as a major shock to the SDF, since the group was the main U.S.-ally in the fight against ISIS.
McGurk said that the SDF should negotiate with all sides and not just the U.S.
Praising the group’s role in fighting ISIS, McGurk said that the world needs to know the SDF’s efforts in keeping jihadist prisoners in camps in al-Hol and other parts of northern Syria.
McGurk also said that the aim of the anti-ISIS coalition is to eliminate the jihadist group, adding that political and diplomatic efforts must begin when the war ends.