Trump Pulls US Troops out of Syria

The conflict in the middle east dates back hundreds of years and the military decision could affect United States allies in the future.

Ava Kitzi, Copy Editor

President Donald Trump’s decision to pull all United States troops from Northern Syria on Oct. 3 was immediately challenged by bipartisan backlash in Congress, and could face many consequences in the future. The conflict in the Middle East is backed up by thousands of years of controversy, war, and tribulations. It is integral to understand the process in order to be an active participant in the US government process. So, what led to the current situation in Syria, how is the United States involved, and where do we go from here?

The Middle East has had problems for a very long time- much too long to cover in one high school newspaper article. In short, almost all wars start because of a lack of resources, a power struggle, or a difference in religious thought. As the world continued to develop and grow after the founding of Islam, feuding states made alliances, enemies, and deep histories with one another. Fast forward to the 1940’s. Following the closing of World War II,  President Theodore Roosevelt met with other world leaders to discuss the future of the Middle East. The group drew boundaries for the countries occupying the area, which was unprecedented, seeing that feuding caliphates and leaders of Arab states wouldn’t typically draw hard boundaries, this move alienated and displaced many groups, like the American allies, the Kurdish. The Kurdish people, commonly known as Kurds, are a semi-nomadic ethnic group with almost half of their population living in Turkey. Because of the cultural differences between the Turks and the Kurds, Turkish leaders have openly discriminated against the Kurds as hostility rises. 

In 2011, Syria started to see a rise in civil unrest under new President Bashar al-Assad as unemployment and corruption increased. Protesters started to form groups, all of which wanted different things. Among these groups are the Kurds, who are still displaced and looking to get a piece of land to call home. The global superpowers, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States eventually took part in the conflict as allies of smaller countries and protesting groups. Once more countries got involved, the conflict turned into a full-fledged civil war against the Syrian government. The United States stuck with their allies, the Kurds and their army, the Peshmerga, to fight for the rebellion side of the war. 

As conflict continues to rise in Syria and Turkey prepares to wage an offensive attack against the Kurds, President Donald Trump made a stunning announcement in early October, stating the United States military would be pulling its troops from Syria, leaving their Kurdish allies behind. Both Democratic and Republican congress people have condemned the President’s decision. This includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a long time Trump supporter, said  the decision to pull troops out of Syria will hurt the United States’ relationship with NATO ally, Turkey. The Democrat majority House of Representatives officially condemned the military move, meaning they signed a formal resolution disapproving of it. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi even led Democratic congresspeople out of a meeting over the issue, citing a “breakdown” from the President, making them unable to make progress on a solution. 

Donald Trump is not only facing backlash over this major military decision, but as the 2020 election draws near, and the House investigation into Trump’s involvement in Ukraine, the President could be making a tough case for himself in the second term. In addition to having an effect on the 2020 Presidential election, Trump’s pullout in Syria could break ties with NATO allies and set an unwanted precedent for the future. 

President Donald Trump’s decision to pull United States troops out of the country in order to keep US warriors safe may have long term effects as the Kurdish people will face attacks from Turkey and other foreign powers.