An Open Letter to the President of the United States on U.S. withdrawal from Syria

by Amir Sharifi    


I as the president of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group and a member of the Kurdish communities in the U.S express my deepest concern and dismay at your decision to withdraw the American support from the Syrian Democratic Forces in their universal and courageous fight against ISIS in Syria. I join the bi-partisan group of senators in urging you to reconsider your decision during this critical time. As the senators have stressed the gravity of the situation, your decision will have tragic consequences for both the U.S and our allies in our joint war against ISIS, a war which has already caused incalculable suffering not only for Kurds but also for other peoples in Syria and across the globe.  Like our esteemed senators, I believe that this policy is neither politically nor morally justifiable.

Tragically the hasty and premature withdrawal will bring to an end the unfinished war against ISIS; consequently, it will animate and embolden ISIS during a time that this murderous force is at the brink of defeat. The US withdrawal has already disheartened and demoralized the Syrian Democratic Forces, men and women who have earned the universal badge of honour and courage in their effective battles against ISIS whose bloodshed had not long ago encircled the entire world from Kobani, Manbij, and Raqqa in Syria, to major European and American cities. Our withdrawal of support from our most trusted allies is unjust and irresponsible, as the US will be abandoning its most trusted allies in the midst of a just and unfinished war against terrorism. Many experts concur that ISIS has not been completely defeated and that it may resurge both militarily and ideologically. SDF cannot fight or win this war alone, especially when their archenemy, Turkey notorious for its support for Jihadists, may strike them anytime and anywhere as stated mercilessly by the Turkish Defense Minister that SDF fighters “will be buried in their ditches when the time comes”.  The U.S government bears moral responsibility for the lives of not only SDF fighters but also all civilians who will be left defenceless as the immediate targets of ISIS and Turkey. We must not repeat the same mistake of turning a blind eye once again in the face of the Turkish threats of yet another Turkish invasion with its ensuing appalling atrocities including slaughtering, pillaging, raping, and displacing residents of the area comparable to the well- documented cases perpetrated against the once predominantly Kurdish city of Afrin which Turkish troops and their Jihadist mercenaries have occupied since last March.

Mr. President, this untimely withdrawal will also politically exacerbate the Syrian conflict as the competing regional and international powers such as Iran, Russia, and Turkey who have turned Syria into a horrific spectacle of ceaseless and senseless wars, will use the void to gain strength in their political and military presence and influence as the emboldened Bashar Al Assad would, in turn, reassert his despotic rule in a region where the aspirations of the Syrian movement for democratic changes have come to fruition under SDF, a diverse  alliance of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Assyrians and Armenians who have fought valiantly and suffered the most losses against ISIS and other Jihadist groups. Their valiant endeavours and advances have also constructed in the midst of the chaos and catastrophes in the rest of Syria, a democratic confederation in which a burgeoning democracy, ethnic and gender parity and cultural and linguistic diversity are highly valued and practised as a matter of policy at local levels. Withdrawal at this time will destroy these vibrant and transformative political achievements gained at a high cost. Indeed it will be a travesty of justice not only for SDF as our trusted allies but for millions of people who have lived in relative peace and stability in Northern Syria since 2014.

Mr. President, in the face of these dangers to American interests and the ongoing anti-ISIS alliance, I hereby urge you to reconsider and reverse your decision of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria to avoid the dangerous consequences that it will have for both the U.S. and our allies.