While limited groups of Turkish infantry forward deployments have crossed into northeast Syria, seeking to move US-allied Kurdish forces away from its border, as Bloomberg reported this morning, we now have the first on the ground visual confirmation of a US troop exit from key border posts.
A Russian film crew with RT appears to have gained access to the now abandoned US military base in Tel Arqam, near the town of Ras al-Ain along the Syrian-Turkish border.
Describing it as appearing like a “ghost town” after American special forces have moved, presumably further inland to another US base east of the Euphrates, the base which lies but a few kilometers away from the Turkish border has been “completely abandoned” of US forces, with a few Kurdish fighters left.
The report describes of the US abandoned Tel Arqam base:
Constructed of wood, metal and plastic, the base houses several barracks and command facilities, while its barbed wire defenses and watchtowers remain erected around the perimeter. Yet, all the US troops have already withdrawn, leaving what once were battle positions and the surrounding area empty. A handful of Kurdish fighters are the only people seen in the footage, who now solemnly watch guard over the base.
This as the full Turkish assault has begun, with Turkish F-16s now bombing targets in northeast Syria’s Ras al-Ayn and Sarekaniye, and as SDF leaders are making a last ditch appeal to Washington for a ‘No Fly Zone’.
The White House’s Sunday night statement essentially giving the ‘green light’ for Erdogan’s invasion, dubbed ‘Operation Peace Spring’, has angered current and former US defense officials involved over the past few in partnering with and training the SDF.
Trump, however, rejected the charge that he has “abandoned” the Kurds, saying on Monday they are a “special people and wonderful fighters”.
He warned Turkey of “economic devastation” if implementation of their proposed ‘safe zone’ led to any “unnecessary fighting” — despite Erdogan and other top Turkish officials vowing to “correct the demographics,” which many have taken to mean ethnic cleansing and mass relocation of the region’s Kurdish community.
Clearly Erdogan has remained unmoved by such White House warnings, however, it appears the Pentagon is thus far going along with Ankara’s ‘safe zone’ narrative.