Betrayal in Syria
In terms of lives and materiel, the fight to defeat ISIS in Syria has largely fallen upon the shoulders of the nation’s Kurdish population. About 11,000 Kurdish fighters are believed to have lost their lives during this effort. During the country’s years-long civil war, the Kurds and allied groups were able to establish an autonomous region in the northeast, with the sporadic assistance of the US-led coalition. Then, in the fall of 2019, US President Donald Trump abruptly changed course and gave Turkey the green light to invade this region. The sting of betrayal was felt deeply as local militias scrambled to defend against NATO’s second-largest military. Displacement and violence disproportionately affected the region’s ethnic and religious minorities, most notably the already distressed Christian peoples that found themselves on the operation’s frontline.