CNN reports:

Analysts such as Bowman say part of the outrage is driven by the fact that "we would have not defeated ISIS' Caliphate ... without their help" and that the Kurds had just recently lowered their defenses, trusting the US to protect them from Turkey.

Since August, the US has been pushing the Kurds to dismantle their defensive fortifications and pull back their troops along the border that Turkey is now attacking as part of a "security mechanism" framework. The goal was to appease Turkey enough so they wouldn't invade. Kurds agreed to participate "presumably because they trusted the US to restrain the Turks diplomatically," Bowman said.

Note that CNN attributes this versions of events to an analyst, so CNN doesn't fully put their own editorial weight behind the (attributed) statement. So what evidence exists that lends credence to this claim?

  • 4
    You mean the Northern Syria Buffer Zone? "The DMZ was managed by United States Armed Forces and Turkish Armed Forces personnel until the agreement was abandoned and in early October 2019..." -- "On 27 August, the first stage of the planned Kurdish withdrawal came into effect, with YPG units leaving their positions and withdrawing along with their weapons from Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn." -- Is there anything this WP article doesn't answer?
    – DevSolar
    Oct 10, 2019 at 10:53
  • @DevSolar: it's not clear from there that US pushed for the dismantling, as opposed to the Turkish side. After all the (failed) buffer zone deal was a 3-way thing. Oct 10, 2019 at 10:59
  • 1
    Have you read the article? The negotiations were mainly between Turkey and the USA, with the USA promising a retreat of the SDF so there could be a Turkish-US patrolled DMZ. I don't see how this could happen without the US telling the Kurds to vacate the area. At the very least, your question would require some sharpening of what you're skeptical about, precisely.
    – DevSolar
    Oct 10, 2019 at 11:13
  • 4
    @Fizz How clear do you need? Turkey refuses to negotiate with the Kurds, so the US carried out talks with Turkey on behalf of their Kurdish allies, and the Kurds agreed to cooperate with their US allies. (Allies at the time, anyway; most likely bitter enemies now.) It's also important to mention that a direct quote does not mean the outlet "doesn't fully put their own editorial weight behind the statement", merely that they have a direct quote for something which is correct beyond any possible challenge.
    – Graham
    Oct 10, 2019 at 16:02

3 Answers 3


The best I could confirm from official sources is this US CENTCOM tweet:

Within 24 hours of the phone call between U.S. SECDEF and Turkish MINDEF to discuss security in northeast Syria, the SDF destroyed military fortifications, Aug 22. This demonstrates SDF's commitment to support implementation of the security mechanism framework.

  • 6
    I wasn't aware that they had any fortifications at the Louisville KY airport. Oct 10, 2019 at 11:55
  • 9
    @DanielRHicks: I'm missing the joke somehow. (Ah, I see, IATA code SDF.) The obviously mean that SDF. Oct 10, 2019 at 11:56
  • 2
    @DanielRHicks Someone has to keep UPS safe.
    – reirab
    Oct 10, 2019 at 22:14

See this article which includes pictures of the removal of fortifications.

enter image description here

photo caption reads:

A US service member observes as Syrian Democratic Forces remove military fortifications along the Turkey-Syria border, August 22, 2019. Image: US Army/Spc. Alec Dionne


See Turkey, US agree to set up operation centre for Syria safe zone 7 August 2019:

A joint statement by the Turkish defence ministry and the US embassy in Ankara said the two sides had agreed to set up the Turkey-based operations centre "as soon as possible" and that the safe zone "would become a "peace corridor", without providing futher details.

More-officially, see Statement on Joint Military Talks Regarding Syria

See also the follow-up article Syrian Kurdish fighters 'start pulling back' from Turkish border 27 August 2019:

the SDF said they were withdrawing as much as 17km into the Syrian territory.

  • 4
    "safe zone"... hmmm... Oct 10, 2019 at 21:45
  • 4
    @sfmiller940: Hey, it's safe for Turkey...
    – einpoklum
    Oct 13, 2019 at 9:23

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