As Turkish tanks roll in, the Trump administration’s not-so-well-laid plans to keep U.S. troops in Syria to build a Kurdish border force have gone wildly awry.
Wladimir van Wilgenburg is a freelance reporter based in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, and an analyst of Kurdish politics for the Jamestown Foundation. Follow on Twitter @vvanwilgenburg.
Ankara says Trump promised to cut off arms to the Kurds in Syria. But the Kurds and the Americans says that’s an “adjustment”—and support, and the fight against ISIS, goes on.
Now that the so-called Islamic State has lost virtually all the territory it once occupied in Syria and Iraq, it's Iran's proxies, not America's, that are moving in.
For foreign volunteers from Europe and the U.S. who came to fight ISIS, the moment of victory raised a whole new set of problems.
In the locker rooms, showers, and gym beneath the stadium, ISIS created a prison and torture chambers for its feared security arm.
Who will rule in Raqqa now that U.S.-backed forces have purged the so-called Islamic State from its erstwhile capital? That remains an open question.
In a critical battle, Washington’s most effective allies in Syria turn their attention away from fighting ISIS and toward the militias of Bashar al-Assad.
Black flags still drape the city and the terror continues from IEDs. But the biggest questions are about what comes next.
It looks like Manbij will fall to Kurdish and Arab fighters backed by U.S. and French special forces in the near future. But their next target remains a question mark.