NewsLocal News


Local Kurdish family in disbelief over withdrawal of troops from Syria

Senator Gillibrand echoed the families concerns
Local reactions to withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria
Posted at 11:39 PM, Oct 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-09 23:39:53-04

WKBW — Arween Ismail came to America with his family as a baby. They were refugees fleeing persecution against the Kurds in Iraq by Saddam Hussein. His entire extended family still lives in the region.

"Our family back home is a huge part of our lives here still, there isn't a day that we don't come home that my mom's not facetiming with them, or my dad's not videochatting with somebody," Ismail said.

Ismail said his family was in "disbelief" when they heard the news that President Trump was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria. Three days later, Turkey has invaded Northern Syria, leaving the Kurds living there, who are a U.S. ally, to fend for themselves. Ismail said it all reminds him of the violence he and his family faced.

"Just depression and worrying about what's happening back home, and how this is going to affect our personal direct families related to there," he said.

The President's decision was also questioned at U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) town hall in South Buffalo on Wednesday night. Gillibrand said the U.S. does need to withdraw troops from Syria, but that the President did it without a proper plan.

"Because of this effort by Trump to unilaterally say we're drawing down the troops, well the Kurds now have to defend their families and their communities and so they can't guard the prisons where all the ISIS fighters we just put," Gillibrand said.

She added that Trump should have relied on international resources to take over guarding ISIS prisons, and made an agreement with President Erdogan of Turkey that the country would not attack the Kurds.

President Trump has been standing by his decision.

"It has to be done otherwise you're never going to do it," he said Wednesday.

There are many bi-partisan critics of Trump's decision, including some of his staunchest supporters like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.