Chicago area Kurds, Syrians, politicians react to violence after US pulls out of region

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is fresh criticism over President Trump's decision to pull American troops out of Syria as the region is being pounded with deadly airstrikes.

Turkey has launched an assault, creating a potential shift in the fight against ISIS.

The president's decision is leaving the Kurds, America's allies, to fight for themselves.

The Kurds are reporting multiple civilian casualties as people try to escape the region. Turkey is also claiming some deaths.

Ten thousand ISIS fighters held captive and guarded by Kurdish fighters are now at risk of being freed.

President Trump calls the operation a "bad idea" but is threatening retaliation if Turkey quote "wipes out" the Kurds.

The fighting overseas is being felt by Syrian and Kurdish Chicagoans, as they can only watch the violence from afar.

It was a day of celebration for 126 new American citizens swearing their allegiance to the United States. But for Amid Amid, the only Syrian being naturalized an American at the ceremony Thursday in Glencoe, the day is stained with sadness and fear for loved ones in his native country.

He said decades ago, Turkish forces killed his extended family.

"It's very bad now," Amid said.

Now there is more violence after President Trump abruptly withdrew US troop support for Kurdish allies along the Turkish-Syrian border this week. Turkish President Recep Erdogan launching an attack on US-Kurdish allies at the Syrian border.

"We had a situation that worked," said Illinois 16th District US Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican. "We were holding off a Turkish attack, and abandon them out of nowhere is way below what America is capable of and it makes me frankly furious."

Kinzinger said those Kurdish allies in Syria have been vital in the fight against ISIS, putting their lives on the line fighting on the ground, and guarding 10,000 ISIS prisoners. Now?

"We fully expect that there's quite a big possibility these ISIS members escape and they either rejoin the fight in Syria, or they go up to Europe or anywhere else, and it would be a major violation of the president's campaign promise, which is to crush ISIS," Kinzinger said.

It's a situation Kurdish Chicagoans like Mehmet Yavuz, co-owner of Gundis Kurdish Kitchen in Lincoln Park, are watching closely. He says President Trump betrayed the Kurdish people.

"As we hear from people who live in that area, as we hear from them, they say they just bomb anywhere. They don't care if it's family, man woman...they just do that. So that's really sad," Yavuz said.

Rep. Kinzinger said he and others are recommending major economic sanctions against Turkey and are even considering how to push Turkey out of the NATO Alliance.
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