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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J"

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Orders Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Northern Syria

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-esper-facebookJumbo Trump Orders Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Northern Syria United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kurds Esper, Mark T Defense Department

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Sunday that President Trump ordered a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria, a decision that will effectively cede control of the area to the Syrian government and Russia, and could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State.

Mr. Esper, appearing on both Fox News and CBS News, said that American troops, mostly Special Operations forces, would leave the northeastern part of the country in the face of Turkey’s incursion into the section of Syria controlled by Kurdish forces, a group of fighters trained and backed by the United States government.

The Pentagon has slow-walked previous orders by Mr. Trump to evacuate from Syria, to protect its Kurdish partners and hold the ground it took back from the Islamic State. But Mr. Esper’s comments Sunday indicated that this time Mr. Trump’s drawdown order was being acted on with haste.

The bulk of the roughly 1,000 troops in Syria are positioned in the northeastern part of the country. The new orders will remove the troops from that area, sending them, at least initially, to Iraq. For now the Pentagon will leave the Special Operations forces in southern Syria in place. Military officials said plans remained fluid, and commanders would be watching the situation closely over the next three days. But in any case, the implications were clear: American forces will not be coming to the aid of their Kurdish allies in the face of the Turkish-backed offensive.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Esper defended the planned withdrawal of what he said was “less than 1,000 troops” as prioritizing the safety of American soldiers in the crisis, and he said the United States would ultimately have been unable to deter Turkey from invading Syria.

“Fifty service members are not going to stop a Turkish advance,” Mr. Esper said, referring to the “trip wire” force along the Turkish border that Mr. Trump ordered removed last week. “The U.S. doesn’t have the forces on hand to stop an invasion of Turkey that is 15,000 strong.”

Mr. Esper said the Pentagon expected Turkish forces to annex even more territory than originally estimated. He also confirmed that the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces was “cutting a deal” with Russian and Syrian government forces who are now heading north to fight back against the Turkish offensive.

The announcement came amid a wave of intense criticism from both parties over the pullout.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who served in Iraq as an Air Force pilot, said that the withdrawal of American troops from Syria was “going to be terrible,” and that the president was putting national security at risk.

“The Kurds found out on Twitter, for goodness’ sakes,” Mr. Kinzinger said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” “We have left them to the wolves. And the message this is sending to our allies around the world, I think, is really going to be bad.”

Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for the House to pass his bipartisan legislation to condemn Mr. Trump’s Syria policy and impose sanctions on Turkey. The measure is co-sponsored by the top Republican on the panel, Representative Michael McCaul of Texas.

“I can think of nothing more disgusting in all the years I’ve been in Congress than what this president is allowing to happen to the Kurds,” Mr. Engel said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding, “This is going to make people flee from us, and it’s just absolutely disgraceful that the president of the United States is facilitating all of this.”

Mr. Trump took to Twitter to defend the pullout, calling it “very smart not to be involved” in the fighting, and to try to mollify his critics, expressing openness to imposing sanctions on Turkey. But the denunciations piled up on Sunday, coming even from military officials who are usually allies of the administration.

“Shame: while Kurds are slaughtered US military in full retreat in eastern Syria,” tweeted Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chief of staff who has been close to the Trump White House. “Giving up control of airspace enables Turk invasion.”

Throughout the fight with the Islamic State that began in 2014, the Kurdish forces proved to be America’s most able partners. But Turkey has long viewed those forces as an offshoot of what it and the United States consider a terrorist group it has long battled inside its borders and throughout the region.

The Kurdish forces were key to breaking the Islamic State’s control of territory in Syria, effectively destroying its self-proclaimed caliphate. Despite Mr. Trump’s claim that the Islamic State is defeated, the fighters remain an effective insurgent force in Syria and Iraq. If the Turkish incursion into Syria breaks the power of the Kurdish force, some military officials believe the Islamic State could once again find lawless safe havens from which to rebuild.

American military forces pulled out of Ain Issa, a Syrian town north of the Islamic State’s former self-declared capital of Raqqa, on Sunday morning after an advance of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group backed by Turkey, according to American military officials.

The remaining Special Operations forces are working out of about a dozen bases or outposts in northeastern Syria. One of the most important of those is Manbij, where nearly 200 American forces are based. That base is the most likely to be evacuated next.

Turkish officials have long objected to Kurdish control of Manbij. Ankara has repeatedly said it wants Kurdish forces to withdraw from Manbij, and give control to its Syrian Arab allies.

American military officials do not believe Turkey will be able to effectively control any territory it moves into, and believe that its offensive is likely simply to allow the Syrian regime, backed by Russia, to effectively retake control of the country.

The United States also maintains a small contingent of troops at the Al-Tanf base in south-central Syria, as a deterrent to Iranian movements in that region. The withdrawal order will not affect that post, an American official said.

The garrison at Al-Tanf, for now, is viewed as critical to protect Jordan and to counter Iranian influence, and Mr. Trump has not pushed for any withdrawal from there. Some former officials have made the case to Mr. Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and adviser on the Middle East, that Al-Tanf is critical for protecting Israel as well.

Defense officials emphasized that their plans for Syria remained fluid. During the next couple of days, American commanders in the region and at the Pentagon will assess options on which forces should withdraw, in which order and where. Some may withdraw to Iraq or Jordan, and others could go back to the United States or Europe. The Air Force will continue to provide air cover for the military troops that are withdrawing.

The withdrawal from northeastern Syria is expected to be complete perhaps as early as the end of October, a military official said. But the pace of the withdrawal will depend on how quickly Turkish-backed forces advance.

Some defense officials are worried that American forces could be targeted by Turkish-backed forces or other groups while they are withdrawing. Military officials warned that any attacks would be met with strong counterstrikes, to deter any miscalculation by other forces.

Mr. Engel said the United States should consider trying to kick Turkey out of NATO, calling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “a bad guy.”

“I think it’s something that needs to be considered,” he said. “How do you have a NATO ally who’s in cahoots with the Russians?”

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Defense Secretary Announces Withdrawal From Northern Syria

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-esper-facebookJumbo Defense Secretary Announces Withdrawal From Northern Syria United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kurds Esper, Mark T Defense Department

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Sunday that President Trump ordered a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria, a decision that will effectively cede control of the area to the Syrian government and Russia, and could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State.

Mr. Esper, appearing on both Fox News and CBS News, said that American troops, mostly Special Operations forces, would move south but not leave the country in the face of Turkey’s incursion into the section of Syria controlled by Kurdish forces, a group of fighters trained and backed by the United States government.

The Pentagon has slow-walked previous orders by Mr. Trump to evacuate from Syria, to protect its Kurdish partners and hold the ground it took back from the Islamic State. But Mr. Esper’s comments Sunday indicated that this time Mr. Trump’s drawdown order was being acted on with haste.

The bulk of the roughly 1,000 troops in Syria are positioned in the northeastern part of the country, and the new orders will push those troops further south. Military officials said plans remained fluid, and it was not clear how far the troops would withdraw to. But in any case, the implications were clear: American forces will not be coming to the aid of their Kurdish allies in the face of the Turkish-backed offensive.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Esper defended the planned withdrawal of what he said was “less than 1,000 troops” as prioritizing the safety of American soldiers in the crisis, and he said the United States would ultimately have been unable to deter Turkey from invading Syria.

“Fifty service members are not going to stop a Turkish advance,” Mr. Esper said, referring to the “trip wire” force along the Turkish border that Mr. Trump ordered removed last week. “The U.S. doesn’t have the forces on hand to stop an invasion of Turkey that is 15,000 strong.”

Mr. Esper said the Pentagon expected Turkish forces to annex even more territory than originally estimated. He also confirmed that the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces was “cutting a deal” with Russian and Syrian government forces who are now heading north to fight back against the Turkish offensive.

Throughout the fight with the Islamic State that began in 2014, the Kurdish forces proved to be America’s most able partners. But Turkey has long viewed those forces as an offshoot of what it and the United States consider a terrorist group it has long battled inside its borders and throughout the region.

The Kurdish forces were key to breaking the Islamic State’s control of territory in Syria, effectively destroying its self-proclaimed caliphate. Despite Mr. Trump’s claim that the Islamic State is defeated, the fighters remain an effective insurgent force in Syria and Iraq. If the Turkish incursion into Syria breaks the power of the Kurdish force, some military officials believe the Islamic State could once again find lawless safe havens from which to rebuild.

American military forces pulled out of Ain Issa, a Syrian town north of the Islamic State’s former self-declared capital of Raqqa, on Sunday morning after an advance of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group backed by Turkey, according to American military officials.

The remaining Special Operations forces are working out of about a dozen bases or outposts in northeastern Syria. One of the most important of those is Manbij, where nearly 200 American forces are based. That base is the most likely to be evacuated next.

Turkish officials have long objected to Kurdish control of Manbij. Ankara has repeatedly said it wants Kurdish forces to withdraw from Manbij, and give control to its Syrian Arab allies.

The United States also maintains a small contingent of troops at the Al-Tanf base in south-central Syria, as a deterrent to Iranian movements in that region. It was unclear whether the withdrawal order affects that post, which American officials have said in the past would be the last United States presence in the country to be withdrawn.

Defense officials emphasized that their plans for Syria remained fluid. During the next couple of days, American commanders in the region and at the Pentagon will assess options on which forces should withdraw, in which order and where. Some may withdraw to Iraq or Jordan, and others could go back to the United States or Europe. The Air Force will continue to provide air cover for the military troops that are withdrawing.

The withdrawal from northeastern Syria is expected to be complete perhaps as early as the end of October, a military official said. But the pace of the withdrawal will depend on how quickly Turkish-backed forces advance.

American forces will try to avoid contact with the Turkish-backed forces, but the military official warned they will defend themselves if attacked.

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Defense Secretary Announces Withdrawal From Northern Syria

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-esper-facebookJumbo Defense Secretary Announces Withdrawal From Northern Syria United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kurds Esper, Mark T Defense Department

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Sunday that President Trump ordered a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria, a decision that will effectively cede control of the area to the Syrian government and Russia, and could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State.

Mr. Esper, appearing on both Fox News and CBS News, said that American troops, mostly Special Operations forces, would move south but not leave the country in the face of Turkey’s incursion into the section of Syria controlled by Kurdish forces, a group of fighters trained and backed by the United States government.

The Pentagon has slow-walked previous orders by Mr. Trump to evacuate from Syria, to protect its Kurdish partners and hold the ground it took back from the Islamic State. But Mr. Esper’s comments Sunday indicated that this time Mr. Trump’s drawdown order was being acted on with haste.

The bulk of the roughly 1,000 troops in Syria are positioned in the northeastern part of the country, and the new orders will push those troops further south. Military officials said plans remained fluid, and it was not clear how far the troops would withdraw to. But in any case, the implications were clear: American forces will not be coming to the aid of their Kurdish allies in the face of the Turkish-backed offensive.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Esper defended the planned withdrawal of what he said was “less than 1,000 troops” as prioritizing the safety of American soldiers in the crisis, and he said the United States would ultimately have been unable to deter Turkey from invading Syria.

“Fifty service members are not going to stop a Turkish advance,” Mr. Esper said, referring to the “trip wire” force along the Turkish border that Mr. Trump ordered removed last week. “The U.S. doesn’t have the forces on hand to stop an invasion of Turkey that is 15,000 strong.”

Mr. Esper said the Pentagon expected Turkish forces to annex even more territory than originally estimated. He also confirmed that the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces was “cutting a deal” with Russian and Syrian government forces who are now heading north to fight back against the Turkish offensive.

Throughout the fight with the Islamic State that began in 2014, the Kurdish forces proved to be America’s most able partners. But Turkey has long viewed those forces as an offshoot of what it and the United States consider a terrorist group it has long battled inside its borders and throughout the region.

The Kurdish forces were key to breaking the Islamic State’s control of territory in Syria, effectively destroying its self-proclaimed caliphate. Despite Mr. Trump’s claim that the Islamic State is defeated, the fighters remain an effective insurgent force in Syria and Iraq. If the Turkish incursion into Syria breaks the power of the Kurdish force, some military officials believe the Islamic State could once again find lawless safe havens from which to rebuild.

American military forces pulled out of Ain Issa, a Syrian town north of the Islamic State’s former self-declared capital of Raqqa, on Sunday morning after an advance of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group backed by Turkey, according to American military officials.

The remaining Special Operations forces are working out of about a dozen bases or outposts in northeastern Syria. One of the most important of those is Manbij, where nearly 200 American forces are based. That base is the most likely to be evacuated next.

Turkish officials have long objected to Kurdish control of Manbij. Ankara has repeatedly said it wants Kurdish forces to withdraw from Manbij, and give control to its Syrian Arab allies.

The United States also maintains a small contingent of troops at the Al-Tanf base in south-central Syria, as a deterrent to Iranian movements in that region. It was unclear whether the withdrawal order affects that post, which American officials have said in the past would be the last United States presence in the country to be withdrawn.

Defense officials emphasized that their plans for Syria remained fluid. During the next couple of days, American commanders in the region and at the Pentagon will assess options on which forces should withdraw, in which order and where. Some may withdraw to Iraq or Jordan, and others could go back to the United States or Europe. The Air Force will continue to provide air cover for the military troops that are withdrawing.

The withdrawal from northeastern Syria is expected to be complete perhaps as early as the end of October, a military official said. But the pace of the withdrawal will depend on how quickly Turkish-backed forces advance.

American forces will try to avoid contact with the Turkish-backed forces, but the military official warned they will defend themselves if attacked.

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Amid Show of Support, Trump Meets With Giuliani Over Lunch

WASHINGTON — President Trump had lunch on Saturday with Rudolph W. Giuliani amid revelations that prosecutors were investigating Mr. Giuliani for possible lobbying violations, and speculation that his position as the president’s personal lawyer was in jeopardy.

The lunch, at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Sterling, Va., was among several shows of the president’s support for Mr. Giuliani on Saturday. They seemed meant to tamp down questions about Mr. Giuliani’s status with a client famous for distancing himself from advisers when they encounter legal problems of their own.

Mr. Trump, during a Saturday night appearance on Fox News, called Mr. Giuliani “a great gentleman” and said he is still his lawyer. “I know nothing about him being under investigation. I can’t imagine it,” he told the host Jeanine Pirro.

Before the lunch, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump spoke on the phone, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Also beforehand, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Giuliani on Twitter as a “legendary ‘crime buster’ and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC.”

Mr. Giuliani “may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer,” the president’s tweet continued.

And Mr. Trump dismissed the investigation into Mr. Giuliani as a “a one sided Witch Hunt” carried out by the “Deep State.”

The president echoed language he had used to minimize the special counsel’s investigation into whether he or his campaign worked with Russians who interfered in the 2016 election to try to help him win the presidency.

Mr. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York mayor, was retained last year to help defend the president in the special counsel’s investigation.

But his efforts to undermine the investigation’s origins and its conclusions helped lead Mr. Trump into an impeachment inquiry. The inquiry focuses on whether Mr. Trump, with assistance from Mr. Giuliani, abused the presidency to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations for his political benefit, including into whether Ukrainians played a role in spurring the inquiry of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are now investigating whether Mr. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine may have run afoul of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Mr. Giuliani has defended his work in Ukraine and said it did not require him to register under FARA.

Mr. Trump was not enamored with the negative publicity around Mr. Giuliani, people close to the president said, but he remains loyal because of his lawyer’s willingness to aggressively defend him during the special counsel’s inquiry.

It is not clear what was discussed at the lunch.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162594609_dbbb74c6-c935-4cf1-b213-9f719b21b78c-articleLarge Amid Show of Support, Trump Meets With Giuliani Over Lunch Ukrainian-Americans Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Giuliani, Rudolph W Biden, Joseph R Jr

The presidential motorcade leaving the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., on Saturday.CreditCheriss May for The New York Times

The lunch is unlikely to end speculation over whether the president will ultimately consider Mr. Giuliani a liability. Another of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers, Michael D. Cohen, met privately with the president in Florida in March 2018, a month before the F.B.I. searched his home, hotel room and office. Mr. Trump publicly embraced Mr. Cohen, until it became clear he might speak against the president.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asked over text message about the significance of the lunch, Mr. Giuliani directed a reporter to Mr. Trump’s show of support on Twitter.

He said his relationship with Mr. Trump was “the same as ever,” but declined to answer additional questions, explaining he was watching the New York Yankees’ playoff baseball game against the Houston Astros.

The two people familiar with the discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani said they believed it would be difficult to prove that Mr. Giuliani violated FARA.

The law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they paid for the representation.

Mr. Giuliani has acknowledged that he and two of his associates, who were arrested on campaign finance charges on Wednesday, worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about targets of Mr. Trump and his allies, including a former American ambassador to Ukraine and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden.

Mr. Giuliani shared that material this year with American government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

But Mr. Giuliani said that he had undertaken that work on behalf of Mr. Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutors. He said he had in fact turned down an offer to represent one of the prosecutors because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president.

What concerns some of Mr. Trump’s advisers more than a possible FARA prosecution related to his Ukraine work is that Mr. Giuliani, who has been representing the president pro bono, is facing a contentious and potentially costly divorce from his third wife, Judith Nathan, and that he may have taken on clients overseas who could be problematic for him with prosecutors.

While Mr. Trump has been reluctant to separate from Mr. Giuliani, some of his advisers hope he will. They remain concerned about Mr. Giuliani’s public commentary about the president and the Ukraine issue.

Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Annie Karni contributed reporting from Washington.

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Pullback Leaves Green Berets Feeling ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurdish Allies Describing ‘Betrayal’

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-kurds1-facebookJumbo Pullback Leaves Green Berets Feeling ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurdish Allies Describing ‘Betrayal’ Votel, Joseph L Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense Department

WASHINGTON — American commandos were working alongside Kurdish forces at an outpost in eastern Syria last year when they were attacked by columns of Syrian government tanks and hundreds of troops, including Russian mercenaries. In the next hours, the Americans threw the Pentagon’s arsenal at them, including B-52 strategic bombers. The attack was stopped.

That operation, in the middle of the American-led campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, showed the extent to which the United States military was willing to protect the Syrian Kurds, its main ally on the ground.

But now, with the White House revoking protection for these Kurdish fighters, some of the Special Forces officers who battled alongside the Kurds say they feel deep remorse at orders to abandon their allies.

“They trusted us and we broke that trust,” one Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria said last week in a telephone interview. “It’s a stain on the American conscience.”

“I’m ashamed,” said another officer who had also served in northern Syria. Both officers spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals from their chains of command.

And the response from the Kurds themselves was just as stark. “The worst thing in military logic and comrades in the trench is betrayal,” said Shervan Darwish, an official allied with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The next flurry of orders from Washington, some fear, could pull American troops out of Syria altogether. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said on Sunday that roughly 1,000 American troops in northeastern Syria would conduct a “deliberate withdrawal,” at least farther south — and possibly out of the country entirely in the coming days and weeks.

The defense secretary’s statement came after comments on Friday pushing back on complaints that the United States was betraying allies in Syria — “We have not abandoned the Kurds” — even as he acknowledged that his Turkish counterpart had ignored his plea to stop the offensive.

Army Special Forces soldiers — mostly members of the Fifth Special Forces Group — moved last week to consolidate their positions in the confines of their outposts miles away from the Syrian border, a quiet withdrawal that all but confirmed the United States’ capitulation to the Turkish military’s offensive to clear Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.

But as the Americans pulled back, the Kurds moved north to try to reinforce their comrades fighting the offensive. The American soldiers could only watch from their sandbag-lined walls. Orders from Washington were simple: Hands off. Let the Kurds fight for themselves.

The orders contradicted the American military’s strategy in Syria over the past four years, especially when it came to the Kurdish fighters, known as the Y.P.G., who were integral to routing the Islamic State from northeastern Syria. The Kurds had fought in Manbij, Raqqa and deep into the Euphrates River Valley, hunting the last Islamic State’s fighters in the group’s now defunct physical caliphate. But the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., as the Kurdish and their allied Arab fighters on the ground are called, are being left behind.

American Special Forces and other troops had built close ties with their Kurdish allies, living on the same dusty compounds, sharing meals and common dangers. They fought side by side, and helped evacuate Kurdish dead and wounded from the battlefield.

“When they mourn, we mourn with them,” Gen. Joseph L. Votel, a former head of the military’s Central Command, said on Thursday at the Middle East Institute.

The Kurdish forces and American military have survived previous strains, including President Trump’s sudden decision in December to withdraw all American troops from northern Syria, a decision that was later walked back somewhat.

This time may be different, and irreversible. “It would seem at this particular point, we’ve made it very, very hard for them to have a partnership relationship with us because of this recent policy decision,” General Votel said.

As part of security measures the United States brokered to tamp down tensions with Turkish troops, Kurdish forces agreed to pull back from the border, destroy fortifications and return some heavy weapons — steps meant to show that they posed no threat to Turkish territory, but that later made them more vulnerable when Turkey launched its offensive.

Special Forces officers described another recent operation with Kurds that underscored the tenacity of the group. The Americans and the Kurdish troops were searching for a low-level Islamic State leader in northern Syria. It was a difficult mission and unlikely they would find the commander.

From his operations center, one American officer watched the Kurds work alongside the Americans on the ground in an almost indistinguishable symmetry. They captured the Islamic State fighter.

“The S.D.F.’s elite counterterrorism units are hardened veterans of the war against ISIS whom the U.S. has seen in action and trust completely,” said Nicholas A. Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who visited the S.D.F. in July to advise them on the Islamic State, or ISIS.

During the battle against ISIS, coordination between the United States military and the Syrian Democratic Forces has extended from the highest levels to rank-and-file fighters, according to multiple interviews with S.D.F. fighters and commanders in Syria over the course of the campaign.

S.D.F. commanders worked side by side with American military officers in a joint command center in a defunct cement factory near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, where they discussed strategy and planned future operations.

The battle of Kobani that began in 2014 gave birth to the United States’ ties to the Kurds in northeastern Syria. ISIS fighters, armed with heavy American-made artillery captured from retreating Iraqi army units, surrounded Kobani, a Kurdish city, and entered parts of it.

Despite the Obama administration’s initial reluctance to offer help, the United States carried out airstrikes against advancing ISIS militants, and its military aircraft dropped ammunition, small arms and medical supplies to replenish the Kurdish combatants.

That aid helped turn the tide, the Kurds defeated ISIS, and American commanders realized they had discovered a valuable ally in the fight against the terrorist group.

Thousands of S.D.F. fighters received training from the United States in battlefield tactics, reconnaissance and first aid. Reconnaissance teams learned to identify Islamic State locations and transmit them to the command center for the American-led military coalition to plan airstrikes.

Visitors to front-line S.D.F. positions often saw Syrian officers with iPads and laptops they used to communicate information to their American colleagues.

“For the last two years, the coordination was pretty deep,” said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Washington-based Kurdish affairs analyst who has spent time in northeastern Syria. “The mutual trust was very high, the mutual confidence, because this collaboration brought enormous results.”

“They completed each other,” he said of the S.D.F. and United States-led coalition. “The coalition didn’t have boots on the ground and fighters didn’t have air support, so they needed each other.”

That coordination was critical in many of the big battles against the Islamic State.

To open the battle in one town, S.D.F. fighters were deposited by coalition aircraft behind the Islamic State’s lines. At the start of another battle, United States Special Operations forces helped the S.D.F. plot and execute an attack across the Euphrates River.

Even after the Islamic State had lost most of its territory, the United States trained counterterrorism units to do tactical raids on ISIS hide-outs and provided them with intelligence needed to plan them.

Even in territory far from the front lines with the Islamic State, S.D.F. vehicles often drove before and after American convoys through Syrian towns and S.D.F. fighters provided perimeter security at facilities where United States personnel were based.

The torturous part of America’s on-again, off-again alliance with the Kurds — one in which the United States has routinely armed the Kurds to fight various regimes it viewed as adversaries — emerged in 1974, as the Kurds were rebelling against Iraq. Iran and the United States were allies, and the shah of Iran and Henry A. Kissinger encouraged the Kurdish rebellion against the Iraqi government. C.I.A. agents were sent to the Iraq-Iran border to help the Kurds.

The Kurdish leader Mustapha Barzani did not trust the shah of Iran but believed Kissinger when he said that the Kurds would receive help from the Americans.

But a year later, the shah of Iran made a deal with Saddam Hussein on the sidelines of an OPEC meeting: In return for some territorial adjustments along the Iran-Iraq border, the shah agreed to stop support for the Kurds.

Kissinger signed off on the plan, the Iraqi military slaughtered thousands of Kurds and the United States stood by. When questioned, Kissinger delivered his now famous explanation: “Covert action,” he said, “should not be confused with missionary work.”

In the fight against ISIS in Syria, Kurdish fighters followed their hard-fought triumph in Kobani by liberating other Kurdish towns. Then the Americans asked their newfound Kurdish allies to go into Arab areas, team up with local militias and reclaim those areas from the Islamic State.

The American military implored the S.D.F. to fight in the Arab areas, and so they advanced, seizing Raqqa and Deir Ezzour, winning but suffering large numbers of casualties.

The American-Kurdish military alliance against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq “began with us helping them,” said Peter W. Galbraith, the former American diplomat who has for years also been a senior adviser to the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq. “But by the end, it was them helping us. They are the ones who recovered the territory that ISIS had taken.”

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How ‘White Guilt’ in the Age of Trump Shapes the Democratic Primary

Westlake Legal Group 13whiteguilt-facebookJumbo How ‘White Guilt’ in the Age of Trump Shapes the Democratic Primary Whites Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Liberalism (US Politics) Harris, Kamala D Biden, Joseph R Jr

ANKENY, Iowa — When Donald Trump was elected, John Olsen felt enraged by the racial tension that fueled his rise, the silence of his white neighbors and the stories of racial discrimination he heard from his nonwhite friends.

Black friends said they were followed around department stores, so Mr. Olsen, who is white, became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He thought that white Americans were scared of the country’s growing Latino population, so he joined the League of United Latin American Citizens. He now registers voters weekly, including with the League of Women Voters, to atone for his “white privilege,” he said.

“I try to have my bases covered,” said Mr. Olsen, 50, who wore a N.A.A.C.P. T-shirt to a campaign rally for Senator Kamala Harris here last week. “It just hurts my heart that white people are afraid of the country’s growing Hispanic population. And I just can’t allow that to continue.”

White liberals — voters like Mr. Olsen — are thinking more explicitly about race than they did even a decade ago, according to new research and polling. In one survey, an overwhelming majority said that racial discrimination affects the lives of black people. They embrace terms like “structural racism” and “white privilege.”

The shift in white liberal attitudes on race might be a permanent one, helped along by a changing media environment and heightened cultural sensitivity, or it could be a more fleeting reaction to the current polarized moment.

Either way, it means that in the Democratic primary, candidates have an incentive to talk to white voters explicitly about race — an incentive that is especially apparent now that a half-dozen Democrats are intensifying their campaigning in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

In Iowa last week, Ms. Harris delivered a revamped stump speech that seemed tailored to these changing attitudes. At an outdoor market in Ankeny, just outside Des Moines, she spoke to the fears some white voters might have about supporting a woman of color. In her pitch, she cast herself as an embodiment of racial progress.

“People are asking, ‘Oh, I don’t know, is America ready for that? Are they ready for a woman of color to be elected president of the United States?’” Ms. Harris told the crowd.

“Look, it’s not a new conversation for me. In fact, it’s a conversation that’s come up every single time in every election that I have — and here’s the operative word — won,” she said. Her largely white audience liked the pitch, responding with rapt silence and then with raucous applause when she talked candidly about her own accomplishments.

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For years, prospective Democratic nominees came to Iowa to talk ethanol and pork subsidies and saved any rhetoric about the injustice of racial profiling for crowds in South Carolina and Nevada — the only early voting states where black and Latino voters made up a significant portion of the Democratic electorate.

But in the era of Mr. Trump, and after social movements such as Black Lives Matter pushed racial inequality to the forefront of national politics, it’s white Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire — not black ones in South Carolina — who, to this point, are embracing the candidates who promise to upend society in the name of racial equity.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has held a commanding lead in national polls with nonwhite Democrats, but surveys show that white liberals in Iowa and New Hampshire are less inclined to support him. At events for Mr. Biden, some white voters cite his confounding September debate answer on the legacy of slavery and previous Senate work with segregationists as reasons to support other candidates.

At events for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind. — two white candidates who have particularly excelled with college-educated liberals — supporters pointed to policies addressing racial inequalities as part of the candidates’ appeal.

These policies may give cover to those seeking to support a white candidate in a historically diverse Democratic field, which includes Ms. Harris, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and former cabinet secretary Julián Castro — candidates who are themselves racial minorities and who are struggling to gain traction in the polls.

“My daughter is marrying an Asian man and diversity has become very important to me,” said Julie Neff, a 57-year-old Iowa Democrat who attended the Harris rally. Ms. Neff, who is white, said she was embarrassed that she started thinking about race and discrimination only later in life.

“I should’ve been paying attention to this stuff sooner. But when Trump is making these decisions, I just realized it would be bad for my son-in-law and my grandchildren,” she said.

According to research by Zach Goldberg, a Georgia State University doctoral student, the attitudes of white liberals like Ms. Neff have moved dramatically in a short time.

In 2010, about 40 percent of white liberals said “blacks who can’t get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their own condition.” Now, that number has dropped to 24 percent, and more than 70 percent of white liberals say “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.”

Mr. Goldberg said he believed that Mr. Trump’s election combined with a digital media environment where race has been covered more explicitly have pushed white liberals into adopting new positions.

“Before, if a black person was shot by police you could read about it in a newspaper, now you see a video,” Mr. Goldberg said. “A video is morally evocative and that has effect on the moral psychology of liberals.”

The result, Mr. Goldberg said, is that white liberals want “to be the exact opposite of racist. They go adopt positions to prove they’re different than the morally tainted collective.”

But this is not a strategy without risk, Mr. Goldberg noted. Voters in a general election, including Republicans and independents, do not share the liberal views about race that white Democrats do. Positions that some leading Democrats have embraced, including reparations for black Americans, could become liabilities.

“When you think about it, this is why blacks may be supporting Biden the way they do,” Mr. Goldberg said. “They know this may not sell to the rest of white America come general election time.”

In the early days of Ms. Warren’s candidacy, the differences among Democratic primary voters were most clear when she discussed low black homeownership rates — a standard portion of her policy-heavy stump speech. Black audiences in Mississippi and Alabama often seemed unmoved, already well aware of the problem Ms. Warren outlined. In Iowa, predominantly white groups reacted dramatically — often with oohs and ahhs and the occasional applause.

At events for Ms. Harris last week, several white voters said that the president’s reliance on white identity politics to motivate his conservative base had forced them to reorganize their own voting priorities.

Ms. Neff’s husband, Bill, wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to the evening rally.

“We had Obama and we thought this racial stuff was over — and then we went backward,” he said. “We’ve seen so many old white guys who are O.K. with the status quo, and that’s not O.K. anymore.”

People like the Neffs and Mr. Olsen could have an outsize effect on the 2020 primary, and the Democratic Party going forward. The largely white voters in the earliest nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire determine which candidates appear viable by the time people in more diverse states head to the voting booth.

Barack Obama famously exploited this playbook in 2008, winning white liberals in Iowa before unlocking his support among black voters. This year’s most prominent black candidates — Mr. Booker and Ms. Harris — are both seeking to repeat that strategy, and have staked their candidacies on a good showing with those same white liberals in the first-in-the-nation caucus.

But the candidate most affected by the attitude shift among white liberals may be Mr. Biden. He has crafted his campaign pitch around replacing Mr. Trump with a steady hand, and in his campaign announcement video featured the president’s waffling response to the racist and anti-Semitic marchers in Charlottesville, Va.,.

Mr. Biden enjoys a significant advantage among black voters, fueled by their pragmatic desire to see Mr. Trump replaced and good feelings carried over from his time as Mr. Obama’s vice president. For white liberal voters, though, the affection for Mr. Biden is not as firm.

Martha Wasmund, 64, said at the Harris event in Ankeny that she preferred the California senator, and was rejecting Mr. Biden’s candidacy because of the fond way he recalled working with segregationist lawmakers. Ms. Wasmund is white.

“That good ol’ boy network doesn’t work,” she said, referring to Mr. Biden’s legislative work with avowed racists in the 1970s and 1980s.

Janelle Turner, 50, brought her 12-year-old daughter to Ms. Harris’s rally. She is white and said she’s seen a change in Democrats in her majority-white community.

“People have realized that this stuff is important and that Trump has made racial division greater,” Ms. Turner said. “I’m a breast cancer survivor and health care is a huge issue for me, but this stuff is too.”

Some black voters see privilege in such responses. Dacia Randolph, a 43-year-old in Reno, Nev., said black voters are sticking with Mr. Biden not because they are unaware of his past, but because they see defeating Mr. Trump as an urgent priority.

She called Mr. Biden a “safe bet,” pointing to polls that show him ahead of Mr. Trump in the general election and the surprising results of the 2016 election.

“Black people go with who we trust,” Ms. Randolph said. “We make people prove themselves.”

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