Fears that President Trump’s shocking decision to abandon our Kurdish allies and allow Turkey to invade northern Syria would lead to the resurgence of ISIS came true almost immediately. Just a few hours after Turkish President Erdogan announced the beginning of “Operation Spring Peace” — a disgustingly cynical name for what will likely become an ethnic cleansing operation — ISIS sleeper cells in the city of Raqqa suddenly activated.
A gun battle ensued before three militants detonated their suicide vests.
Now that the Turkish tanks are rolling over the border, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces coalition has been forced to stop all operations against ISIS and commit all their resources to opposing the invaders. The instability and chaos in the wake of the invasion drastically increases the risk of a mass breakout of the 11,000 ISIS prisoners who are currently in SDF custody — which doesn’t seem to be too much of a concern for the White House, which has announced that Turkey will be taking responsibility for the prisoners, which they absolutely cannot be trusted to do.
When asked about the prospect of mass ISIS fighter escapes, Trump shrugged his shoulders and pointed out that it would be our international allies that would have to clean up the mess he’s made.
Asked about the possibility of ISIS escapees, Trump says “Well, they’re going to be escaping to Europe.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 9, 2019
Turkey has quietly cultivated a friendly relationship with the Islamic State fighters over the years. They looked the other way for years as tens of thousands of jihadist fighters traveled to Turkey and then crossed the border into Iraq and Syria in order to join the ISIS; in 2015, they are believed to have allowed ISIS fighters to cross the Turkish border to attack the Kurdish canton of Kobane, resulting in mass murders as ISIS fighters went from house to house slaughtering their residents. Turkey is also suspected of having purchased oil from ISIS and thus actively funded the terror group.
As this is written, unconfirmed reports are coming in accusing the Turks of targeting ISIS prisons in hopes of busting them open and creating chaos behind SDF lines.
SDF official says Turkey targeted a prison in Qamishlo where ISIS terrorists are held
“The bombing of the prison is an attempt by Turkey to cause chaos in order to help the inmates escape the prison.”
The Middle East Eye reports that the detention camp at al-Hol, which houses 60,000 women and children affiliated with ISIS, has been in chaos for three days as the inmates are starting fires and attack the guards.
I spoke to an official responsible for ISIS families in the al-Hol camp and other Kurdish officials in Syria hours before Turkey's assault began on what will happen to the camp now. > Al-Hol detainees attack guards and start fires as Turkish assault begins https://t.co/YwqLTzTrq8
— Adam Lucente (@Adam_Lucente) October 9, 2019
President Trump’s appalling abandonment of our allies and the violence he’s allowing the Turks to unleash is going to turn the one stable part of Syria in a war-torn hellhole just like the rest of it and squash the one hope for a progressive democracy that the area had — and he’s making sure everyone knows he could not care less.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.