If the US pulls out, the sane part of Syria will be crushed between the anvil of Assad and Erdoğan’s hammer, writes Clive Stafford Smith; while Paul Anthony Hewitson questions Jeremy Hunt’s assertion that keeping US troops in Syria would make London’s streets safer
With respect, Simon Jenkins’ support for Donald Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from Syria is misguided (Opinion, 4 January). I was on a humanitarian mission to the region officially called the “Self-Administration Area of North-East Syria” when Trump’s middle-of-the-night tweet announcement came. While it is an inelegant name, the region’s acronym is apt: SANE Syria. The area is peaceful; the rest of the country is in chaos. SANE Syria encompasses a number of groups who, supported by the US and UK, gave 8,000 of their lives to the fight against not just Isis, but also dictatorship.
The Kurd-led autonomous zone is an island of democratic liberalism in a crescent of totalitarian and religious extremism that stretches from Turkey to Somalia. The American presence is all that has prevented the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, from destroying a project where each political office is co-chaired by a man and a woman. They could teach us a lesson in our era of #MeToo; instead Trump gives them a lesson in betrayal in exchange for 12 pieces of silver (or, in this case, $3.5bn in arms sales to Turkey).