Thousands of Christians and Kurds May Be Caught in the Crossfire of Turkey, Iran, and Russia

President Trump’s December 19th announcement to pull US troops out of northern Syria sent the Middle East into a tailspin. Suddenly major regional powers Russia, Turkey, Iran and the Syrian regime scrambled to seize the initiative and fill whatever vacuum America left in its wake.  But in the center of this geo-political scrum sits millions of Kurds, as many as one hundred thousand Christians and perhaps the only island of sanity and stability in the Middle East outside of Israel.

This region, known as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS) spent years driving ISIS from much of northeastern Syria and provided a semblance of security, democracy and religious freedom to members of all faiths under their umbrella.  One analyst described the DFNS as “The very kind of regime we (the US) once fantasized we could set up in Iraq.  But we didn’t set it up.  It created itself, then sought the U.S. as an ally. It did the lion’s share of the fighting against the butchers of ISIS who still target Americans. That’s the kind of ally you want, so you can exert smart leverage on a region.” 

The presence of 2000 American soldiers flying the US flag provided an invaluable additional buffer against the surrounding nations to the DFNS.  But according to voices from that area, all this could be threatened by Trump’s decision even if Sunday’s White House meeting between US Senator Lindsey Graham and President Trump seemed to slow down the pace of the pullout.  These voices fear the regional actors have already read the writing on the wall and are pursuing their own agendas.

Perhaps the number one change already on the ground is the presence of Syrian troops near the pivotal northern Syrian city of Manjib.  Manjib sits at the crossroads of the area and has been the base for many of the US troops.  According to sources familiar with the DFNS, they invited Syrian troops lest Turkish troops who were massing military equipment on the border seize the city.  More ominous have been reports Erdogan has enlisted thousands of jihadists with Al Qaeda like resumes to fight the Kurds.  One Twitter posting purported to show one such jihadist taking out his knife and saying “We are coming for you Kurds.”

In March of 2018, these kinds of conscripts were used by Erdogan to ethnically cleanse the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin during the ironically named “Operation Olive Branch.”  During that operation, thousands of Kurds and Christians fled for their lives.  Now the DFNS fears another even greater ethnic cleansing could be on the horizon.

CBN News has learned the DFNS feels they are facing two potential scenarios, each one that could have devastating results.

The first scenario would be fighting Turkey, a NATO force and suffer the same fate as Afrin leading to the potential end of the DFNS, ethnic cleansing along with thousands of refugees, many of them Christians.  The second scenario could be to broker a deal with Russia and the Assad regime to keep Turkey at bay.  However, this means not only the end of the DFNS but also Iran would take a giant step closer to its dream of a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean in order to threaten Israel.  Some observers believe the Russians and the Assad regime are bullying the DFNS into a bad deal – a deal they need to accept within days – or they will allow Turkey to invade by early January.

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Source: CBN