Kurds seek help from a surprising new ally: Assad.
It has been only a week since President Trump pulled back American forces in Syria and effectively gave Turkey the green light to cross the border and pursue its own military agenda. Alliances are shifting, ISIS is reinvigorated and the lives of thousands of civilians are endangered.
Embittered at their abandonment by their American allies, Kurdish leaders adroitly moved to secure a new partner: The government of Bashar al-Assad, an avowed foe of the United States.
Late Sunday, the Syrian Democratic Forces said they had struck a deal with the Assad government that would allow government forces to enter the Kurdish-controlled northeast of Syria for the first time in years.
Trump administration officials once argued that keeping Mr. Assad’s forces out of the territory was key to stemming Iranian and Russian influence in Syria. But with American troops on the way out, Washington has lost its leverage.
“The worst thing in military logic and comrades in the trench is betrayal,” said one official allied with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Some American military members who had worked closely with the Kurdish militia were also appalled.
“They trusted us and we broke that trust,” said one Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria. “It’s a stain on the American conscience.”
Another was more succinct: “I’m ashamed,” he said.
Syrian Army joins Kurds in the strategic town of Tel Tamer.
The Syrian Army invaded the town of Tel Tamer in northeastern Syria, state media reported on Monday, soon after Mr. Assad’s government forged an alliance with the Kurdish forces that control the region.
Tel Tamer, a strategic crossroads that connects northeastern Syria with the country’s northern hub, Aleppo, is just 20 miles from Ras al Ain, the center of the Turkish assault.
Tel Tamer was once home to hundreds of Christians before ISIS overran the territory and claimed it as part of its self-declared caliphate in 2015. Kurdish-led fighters repelled the Islamist extremists and had held the town with the backing of American troops until President Trump abruptly withdrew them from the region last week.
Reporting was contributed by Carlotta Gall, Ben Hubbard, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt and Patrick Kingsley, Eric Nagourney and Russell Goldman.