Oct 7, 2019

Kurdish commander: Trump's Syria move puts victories over ISIS at risk

Mazloum Kobani. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

Mazloum Kobani, the commander in chief of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told Defense One on Monday that President Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. military from northern Syria will "jeopardize all the achievements we have made with the coalition against ISIS."

"If this decision is implemented, of course a fight is going to erupt between us and the Turks in the northern border. If our partners and our allies don’t put big pressure on Turkey, it is only a matter of days. ... This will lead to a security vacuum that ISIS will take advantage of and which will be in the ISIS interest."

Why it matters: Trump's announcement has been met with bipartisan backlash in Washington, with many under the assumption that a U.S. exit will give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the green light to launch a military offensive against the mostly Kurdish SDF militia, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization.

  • The SDF bore the brunt of casualties during the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, with more than 10,000 killed as the U.S. largely avoided a presence on the ground, per Defense One.
  • The SDF is also currently holding about 11,000 ISIS detainees. A Turkish incursion — which the SDF has claimed would result in "all-out war" — could pull their forces away from prison camps and the ongoing campaign against ISIS.

Go deeper: U.S. exit from Syria leaves civilians and Kurdish fighters at risk

Go deeper

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.

Judge rules all three defendants in shooting of Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A judge ruled on Thursday that all three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed in February Glynn County, Georgia, will stand trial, AP reports.

Why it matters: The video of Arbery's death was among several catalysts in the mass protests against racial injustice that have unfurled across the country and world over the past week and a half.

Remembering George Floyd

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

With politicians, clergy and law enforcement in attendance on Thursday in Minneapolis, the family of George Floyd demanded recognition for his life well lived.

Why it matters: Floyd has become the latest symbol of police brutality after he was killed last week when a police officer held a knee to his neck.