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Kurds betrayed in Syria

Britain and the US have turned their backs as Turkish soldiers have invaded one of the few peaceful corners of Syria.

888-Afrin-634
Turkish soldiers enter Afrin

Three years ago the triumph of the Kurds over Isis in the Syrian region of Afrin "was widely hailed as the closest one can come, in the contemporary world, to a clear confrontationof good against evil," says David Graeber in the Guardian. Today, the same thing is happening, but this time "world powers are firmly on the side of the aggressors". By tolerating the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled Afrin, Britain and America are "sitting idly by while Turkey launches an unprovoked assault on one of the few remaining peaceful corners of Syria".

It makes "little strategic sense" to alienate Turkey over the Kurds, according to Michael Singh in Foreign Policy. Turkey is "the world's 17th-largest economy and one of the Middle East's primary military powers". Indeed, it is hard to imagine the US accomplishing anything much in Syria in the face of Iranian and Russian resistance "if we cannot even manage to find common ground there with our putative ally".

The Kurds' plight is painful, says David Ignatius in The Washington Post, but "if the Kurds were betrayed in Afrin, it was by the Russians". They promoted themselves as Afrin's protectors and had six outposts in the region, but withdrew their troops two months ago, giving Turkey a "green light for its assault". The US-Turkish confrontation is now moving to the town of Manjib, and we must do our duty there. Not only does the world owe the Kurds a debt for defeating Isis, but acceding to Turkey's demands here will lead to "bloody chaos" that might spread. It would therefore constitute a "policy mistake", as well as the "moral abandonment of a faithful ally".

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