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Syria’s Kurds, feeling betrayed by the U.S., ask Assad government for protection

December 28, 2018 11:06 PM
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BEIRUT—Feeling betrayed by the United States, its Kurdish allies in Syria asked the Syrian government on Friday to protect them from possible attack by Turkey.

The request appeared to help open the way for the forces of President Bashar Assad of Syria, backed by Russia and Iran, to start retaking the Kurdish-held part of the country near Turkey’s border. That would be a big step toward Assad’s goal of reclaiming all of Syria, upended by almost eight years of war.

It also was the first sign that U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement last week that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria was not only shifting alliances in the conflict but directly benefiting Assad.

U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, said the Syrian government should send troops to the city of Manbij, near the Turkish border.

The request amounted to a U.S. ally calling on an enemy of the United States to protect it from another American ally, Turkey.

The Kurdish militias are regarded by Turkey as dangerous autonomy-minded insurgents. The United States regards them as valuable partners in helping rout Islamic State extremists from Syria.


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