In the Kurdish heartlands in Syria, the sense of abandonment at the withdrawal of US troops is palpable as Erdoğan’s forces claim early successes
The lone road out of Ras al-Ayn was empty, except for one overladen lorry that slowly made its way along a lethal mile from war zone to exile. Shells thudded into buildings in the distance as Kurdish forces in vans prepared to race jets and sniper fire, trying to get to a battle that almost everyone else had left.
Those who remained in the border town at the frontline of the war for north-eastern Syria were there to fight; the Kurds rallying to defend it and the Arabs preparing to seize it from them. Early on Saturday, the Arab force, trained by Turkey, made its move. By the day’s end, the proxies claimed to have recaptured part of Ras al-Ayn, making good on Ankara’s threats to push Kurdish forces from one of their main enclaves.