I was interviewed by Jen Kirby of Vox about the chaotic political landscape of northern Syria, which includes the US vacating its presence in the region. Here is an excerpt of the story:
The deal also says Russia and Turkey will facilitate the return of refugees to the area. Part of Erdoğan’s motivation for the invasion of northern Syria had been to carve out a safe zone to relocate some 3.6 million refugees currently in Turkey.
Turkey got what it wanted: both a safe zone and the removal of the Kurds, something it couldn’t have achieved had the US not withdrawn. Meanwhile, Russia is expanding its influence in Syria and in the broader Middle East. While the US abruptly pulled out, Moscow proved that it’s willing to stay.
“The Turkish objective is to destroy the [SDF] and they are,” Elyse Semerdjian, professor of Middle Eastern History at Whitman College, told me. “And it seems as if Putin is just creating, in these moments of American indecisiveness or lack of American will to continue these forever wars, an opportunity for himself to fill the vacuum.”
The full story can be found here.