first published on May 2, 2018 by Will
A joint US and French Special Forces patrol was recently filmed operating in Manbij, Syria.
The US and French are constructing joint bases in the northeastern Aleppo city, giving themselves a more permanent foothold in the region.
The United States has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who have done most of the heavy lifting when it comes to taking ground from the Islamic State. Tens of thousands of Kurds have died fighting for the American-led Operation Inherent Resolve.
Yet, it’s no secret that Turkey wants the Kurds expelled from Manbij and is threatening an operation against the city in a similar manner as their Operation Olive Branch in Afrin. Beyond hollow words of condemnation, the US did little to support their Kurdish allies as Turkey bombed the Kurds out of Afrin and replaced them with the jihadist forces that have been forced to retreat, by pro Syrian government forces, from Damascus suburbs. The Turkish-backed proxy forces have now implemented Sharia Law over the people in Afrin.
Rumors are swirling that the US may be planning to backstab the SDF Kurds (again) and replace them with Turkish-backed jihadists such as the Rahman Corps. The Turkish Foreign Minister stating that he was working with the US to force the SDF out of Manbij, has done nothing to alleviate those rumors.
The route the US plans on taking should become apparent shortly. CJTF-OIR has just now resumed anti ISIS operations in eastern Syria, which were put on hold for months because of Turkey’s offensive into Syria.
The last pocket of ISIS fighters in Syria are concentrated in the town of Hajin along the Euphrates River, further south of Der ez Zor, toward the Iraq border. The US will undoubtedly use the Kurdish SDF to purge the remaining ISIS stronghold… but what then?
Will the US stay loyal to the Kurds who have sacrificed so much for the fight against the Islamic State? … or will the US betray them at the behest of Turkey and allow for a shrinking of Rojava?
The US can’t justly claim victory in Syria, even if they manage to kill every last ISIS fighter, if it means that the ground held previously by ISIS will now be held by the exact same types of Sharia Law-enforcing Arab jihadists that go by a different name.