Syrian Allies to U.S.: Withdrawal Now Will Help ISIS Recover

The Syrian Democratic Forces, America’s military partner in northeastern Syria, issued a statement Thursday warning that President Trump’s decision to pull out U.S. military forces is a mistake that will benefit ISIS. An SDF statement criticizes the withdrawal and says the fight against terrorism is not yet over. “The White House’s decision to withdraw from northern and eastern Syria will negatively affect the campaign against the terrorism,” it reads. “And it will provide a chance for terrorism and its supporters in the political and military fields to recover again and launch counter-terrorist campaign in the region.” The SDF also warned the move is short-term thinking for the volatile zone. “Withdrawal under these circumstances will lead to instability and insecurity, creating a political and military vacuum, leaving its people between the claws of hostile forces and groups,” the statement said.

That news was compounded by more from U.S. officials, who said American air attacks in the region will also cease. The SDF is now discussing the release of 3,200 Islamic State prisoners, The New York Times reports. SDF leadership is reportedly discussing their release because many prisoners’ home countries refused to take them back, according to the Syrian Observatory, a London-based human-rights monitoring group. The SDF may also reportedly be planning on releasing the prisoners in order to free up all of its fighters to defend against a possible Turkish military invasion, which is now more likely after the U.S. troops depart.