Syria Shootout Demonstrates Precarious Environment For U.S. Forces

A single checkpoint in Northeastern Syria recently became a flashpoint — and in our latest Bellingcat collaboration with Newsy, we show you how.

U.S. troops have patrolled the Turkish-Syria border since 2017. This is a means of trying to keep tensions at bay between numerous local factions. This has particularly concerned Turkey — which is, and this is crucial, a NATO partner — and Kurdish militias that have been helping the United States fight ISIS.

Yet in October of 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump suddenly announced that U.S. troops are being pulled out of Northeastern Syria. This meant that Turkey could send its own troops in. The Turkish invasion in turn paved the way for Russian patrols, and strengthened the presence of the Syrian regime forces.

You know the old adage about how “too many cooks spoil the broth”? This is kind of like that, especially due to the fact that plans for a complete withdrawal by the U.S. did not come to fruition.

Watch the video for a detailed breakdown of how already tense and crowded situations can spill over.

Note: Earlier this month, the Newsy + Bellingcat team won the prestigious Scripps Howard Award for Innovation.