Trump Criticized for Troop Withdrawal from Syria

Ahmad Baderkhan/AP

Ahmad Baderkhan/AP


We ran the numbers: There are 775 news articles covering this topic. 11% (87) are left leaning, 43% (336) center, 45% (352) right leaning.

On Tuesday, President Trump continued to come under fire for his decision to withdraw US troops from the border of northern Syria, which is anticipated to spark conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish-led alliance that is fighting against the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war. Left-leaning articles critique Trump’s decision as disastrous for the US’s Kurdish allies and its standing in the region, while right-leaning articles tend to focus on GOP leaders’ criticisms of the withdrawal and Trump’s defenses against them; centrist articles tend to take a more international perspective and examine what the effects of the decision on the Syrian civil war may be.

Fox News published a right-leaning opinion article from pundit Tucker Carlson defending the president’s decision. Carlson argues that the US no longer has an interest in the war in Syria, as ISIS has been pushed back and the US has no plans to attempt to topple the Assad regime. He excoriates those who say that the US is abandoning its allies by withdrawing troops, writing “Now, what exactly do the people on TV know about Kurds? Well, nothing really. And in fact, it would be shocking if anyone at MSNBC had ever met a Kurd. And yet, suddenly on Monday, everyone in Washington seemed thoroughly outraged on their behalf.”

This characterization seems to hold true, as the Washington Post published an analysis headlined “Trump sells out the Kurds in his own unique way.” However, the article argues that the abandonment of the Kurds could become very much America’s problem, reading “If Turkey pursues a significant ground invasion, it would overrun SDF defenses, fracture their fighting forces, compel a possible exodus of Syrian Kurdish refugees toward Iraq (a country that’s hardly stable itself), and, as many security analysts fear, create enough of a security vacuum to pave the way for the Islamic State’s resurgence.” The article also notes that the withdrawal has been condemned by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is usually one of Trump’s most stalwart defenders.

Centrist coverage from NPR investigates the possible consequences of American troop withdrawal, noting that it could lead to the release of ISIS prisoners held by American and Kurdish forces in northern Syria. The analysts suggested that the American withdrawal will open up space for Iranian, Syrian, and Russian troops to take advantage of the chaos in the region and fill the power vacuum.