The catastrophic consequences of Donald Trump’s sickening betrayal of America’s Kurdish allies in Syria are becoming clearer by the minute as Turkish forces invade the Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria.
The danger to the long-time fighting partners of American forces in the Middle East is coming from more than just the invading Turks, however, as reports of atrocities by Turkish-backed Arab militias in the area raise fears of an ethnic cleansing campaign and a resurgence of ISIS and Al-Qaeda in a region where they had largely been contained by Kurdish forces.
The most disturbing report today came from the news that a senior female Kurdish political leader —Hevrin Khalaf, the Secretary-General of the Kurdish Future Syria Party — was dragged from her car and executed by “Turkish backed mercenary factions” while traveling in a highway convoy on the road to the city of Qamishlo.
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Her political party announced the news of her murder with the following statement:
“With utmost grievance and sadness, the Syria Future Party mourns the martyrdom of engineer Havrin Khalaf, the General Secretary of Syria Future Party, while she was performing her patriotic and political duties,” the Future Party said.
The details of the killing filtered out slowly, with the Kurd news site Kurdistan 24 providing updates as new information trickled in.
“A group of Turkish mercenaries tried to control the M4 road and killed many people, and Hevrin was one of them,” one senior official told the news site.
“Nobahar Mustafa, the deputy of the co-head of the Future Party in Ain Issa, said the Kurdish politician was traveling from the Jazeera canton to Ain Issa and then to Raqqa before the mercenaries blocked the way at a checkpoint and killed all the people there. ‘All the passengers they captured were martyred,’ Mustafa told Kurdistan 24.”
Later in the day, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) revealed that Khalaf’s killing was a brutal and intentional execution rather than collateral damage from a ground skirmish, with the female leader dragged from her car and murdered on the spot.
“She was taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish backed mercenary factions on the International Road between Qamishlo and Manbij, where her driver who was also martyred,” according to an SDC statement.
“This is a clear evidence that the Turkish state is continuing its criminal policy towards unarmed civilians,” the SDC continued.
Report was just updated with @SDCPress statement: “She was taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish backed mercenary factions on the International Road between Qamishlo and Manbij"https://t.co/lzFucrEynF
— Wladimir (@vvanwilgenburg) October 12, 2019
Twitter was filled with posts documenting the atrocities that the Turkish invasion has led to since Trump gave the green-light to Erdogan to invade the neighboring Syrian territory.
So these are the moderate groups who are supposed to bring safety & freedom to the Kurds from the SDF? pic.twitter.com/Il1LsTgSNb
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 12, 2019
— Coordination & Military Ops Center – SDF (@cmoc_sdf) October 12, 2019
According to NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel, American military officials are deeply disturbed by the ongoing atrocities that President Trump’s impulsive unilateral policy reversal has engendered, not just because of the betrayal of the people who had been comrades-in-arms in the fight against ISIS and terrorism, but because of the implications the loss of a major ally in the fight against terrorism will have on the future security of the region and the world as a whole.
Turkey’s conflict in Syria took a major turn today. First alleged atrocities by Turkish-backed Arab militias, executing Kurds. US military officials tell me it's true, and they are DEEPLY concerned it opens the door to BOTH ethnic cleansing of Kurds and return of ISIS/Al-Qaeda
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) October 12, 2019
With even normally staunchly loyal Republican senators slamming Trump for his capitulation to Turkish President Erdogan’s scheme to eliminate restive ethnic group spread across Turkey, Syria, and Iraq as a potentially politically disruptive force in his country, one can only wonder if the president’s motivations were truly in the interest of national and global security or were rooted in his own self-interest.
Khalaf’s death is just one piece of the bloodbath that will be staining Donald Trump’s hands as a result of his heavily-criticized decision to overturn years of loyalty to our Kurdish allies and just one more reason that he must be removed from the presidency before his actions lead to more damage to both America and the world at large.
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Original reporting by Wladimir van Wilgenburg at Kurdistan24.