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Iraqi Kurds try to stop US forces from entering Erbil

People throw stones at the US convoy as they pass through Erbil, Iraq on 21 October 2019 [Baxtiyar Goran/Twitter]
People throw stones at US forces as they pass through Erbil, Iraq on 21 October 2019 [Baxtiyar Goran/Twitter]

Enraged citizens have been filmed blocking the road in front of US forces arriving in the city of Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous area of Iraqi Kurdistan. The hostile attitude shown in the footage followed images of US troops and vehicles being pelted with rotten fruit and stones as they left the northern Syrian city of Qamishli earlier on Monday.

A video released on Twitter yesterday showed that, rather than being met with a warm welcome, the US forces and armoured trucks which had just left northern Syria were confronted by local Iraqi Kurds as they entered Erbil.

The video is the latest manifestation of the anger and sense of betrayal that many Kurds have reportedly felt since President Donald Trump’s announcement that US forces would be withdrawing from Syria on the eve of the latest Turkish military operation. The move caused international outrage as many perceived it to be an abandonment of the Kurdish militias which the US has been backing and arming throughout the Syrian conflict and the fight against Daesh.

Iraq: US forces withdrawing from Syria have no approval to stay

Such local civilian dissatisfaction against US forces comes amidst reports that despite the announced withdrawal of America’s military presence in Syria, between 200 and 300 US troops will be remaining at the US base in Al-Tanf, in the south of the country, at the behest of Israel.

The US announced that it would be withdrawing all military forces from Syria in February this year, but ever since the details of what such a withdrawal would entail have varied and US troops still remain within the war-torn country. Trump insisted on the withdrawal following Turkey’s launch of Operation Peace Spring last week.

The operation, which is the third Turkish incursion into northern Syria against the presence of Kurdish militias in the border region, caused international uproar after Trump essentially gave it the green light.

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Asia & AmericasIraqMiddle EastNewsSyriaTurkeyUS
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