Global Affairs Expert Says Trump’s Plan to Withdraw Troops from Syria is ‘Basically Sacrificing’ Christians and ‘Gives the Victory’ to Islamic Extremism

President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria will have dire consequences for tens of thousands of Assyrian and Kurdish Christians in the northeast, self-administered part of the war-torn Middle Eastern nation, a global affairs expert warned.

It was reported Wednesday that planning is underway for a “full” and “rapid” withdraw of the about 2,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Syria. Trump even went on Twitter to declare that the Islamic State had been defeated and that defeating the group was the only reason for U.S. presence there during his presidency.

However, that decision could make it easier for Turkish-backed jihadi groups to come into the Kurdish-majority areas of northeast Syria and carry out attacks like the one seen last year in the city of Afrin, said a European international relations expert who works closely with the Syrian Christian community. Additionally, it could make it easier for Iran to have greater influence in the region.

“ISIS is not defeated,” Johannes de Jong, a Netherlands-based director of Sallux, an association that serves as the political foundation for the European Christian Political Movement, told The Christian Post. “[The U.S. withdraw] means basically that you sacrifice the Christian community of northeast Syria for the Jihadists. If that happens, it is the end of the ten thousands of Christians in Northeast Syria.”

De Jong and others fear that another offensive like the one that happened in Afrin, where over 167,000 Yazidis, Christians and others were displaced earlier this year, could bring about the end to a self-administered part of northeast Syria where Syriac/Assyrian Christians, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and others people groups are coexisting peacefully.

The news of the planned U.S. withdraw comes as Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened this week to launch attacks against Kurds in the U.S.-controlled areas of northeast Syria.

In Afrin, de Jong said, Turkey used jihadi militias (of which some fighters are formerly of IS) as “front forces” to launch the offensive while Turkey used its airpower and equipment to back them up.

“This will happen a similar way as in Afrin,” he said. “The first thing the Christians or northeast Syria [will see] when Trump withdraws from northeast Syria is a bunch of jihadis coming for them.”

De Jong states that Turkey is accusing the Syrian Democratic Forces — an alliance of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian/ Syriac militias that has fought to defend northeast Syria from IS — of being part of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. and other countries

“Turkey is playing the PKK card,” de Jong explained. “This is the same thing all over again. They will kill the Syriac/Assyrians, they will kill the Kurds, they will kill the Arabs simply because these people don’t want Turkey to rule in Northeast Syria. There, the Kurds are free, which is not the case in Turkey. For this reason, they are all called PKK.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith

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