As for American forces in Syria, a coalition is continuing to function very much again.
Fighting around the Sinaa prison in Hasaka, a city in northeastern Syria, has brought attention to the predominantly Kurdish region and raised questions about the US role there.
The Syrian conflict dates back to 2011, when a popular uprising began against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the country’s longtime dictator. The uprising began with peaceful protests but quickly turned into bloody conflict between insurgents and government troops.
The Kurds, who make up about 10% of Syria’s population and are concentrated in the northeast, have largely stayed out of the war.
But that changed in 2014, when Islamic State jihadists swept through eastern Syria and northern Iraq, creating a so-called caliphate the size of Britain. The rise of IS has brought the United States directly into the conflict, with President Barack Obama assembling an international coalition to combat the group, ordering air strikes and sending US troops to support the group. local forces on land.
The coalition turned to Kurdish militias that were fighting jihadists in Syria and formed a partnership that evolved into the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, and included the fighters. from other ethnic groups.
In March 2019, the SDF, backed by the United States, recapture the last piece of territory held by ISIS. “We have won against ISIS,” President Donald J. Trump announced, adding that “it is time for our troops to go home.”
But the remaining victory is still unfinished, creating a premise for the developments of the past week.
SDF fighters seized the opportunity to establish a broad measure of autonomy for themselves in northeastern Syria. They called their land Rojava and quickly set up their own governing body.
Diplomatically, the Kurdish-led government has had only limited success, failing to win recognition from any country, including the United States. And the Kurdish-led push for political autonomy in Syria has raised concerns in Turkey, which considers the SDF to have deep links to the PKK, a Kurdish militant group that has been dominated by Turkey and the United States. Ky is considered a terrorist organization that has fought against a protracted bloody insurgency. Turkish state.
But Turkey refused to intervene, largely because thousands of US troops were then working with the SDF, until October 2019, when President Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of most American forces. That was seen as a green light for Turkey to invade, and it had already gained control of a part of northeastern Syria that it still holds.
More recently, the US has kept about 700 troops in northeastern Syria to help the SDF battle remnants of ISIS. But the pullout also provides space for the Islamic State to regroup, which helps explain why US forces are back in the fight in Syria this week.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/world/middleeast/us-kurds-syria.html For US and Kurdish troops in Syria, a troubled history as an ally