Greece Jittery Over US Troop Pullout from Syria

The National Herald

In this Sept. 21, 2019, photo, released by the U.S. Army, a U.S. soldier oversees members of the Syrian Democratic Forces as they demolish a Kurdish fighters' fortification as part of the so-called "safe zone" near the Turkish border. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Goedl via AP)

Coming days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Athens to push greater military and political cooperation, Greece is now anxious that President Donald Trump's surprise pullout of US troops from Syria could reverberate across the region.

Besides worries it could also see more Syrian refugees fleeing to Turkey as a way of getting to Greek islands that are already overwhelmed, there's anxiety the balance of power could shift if Turkey moves into northern Syria to take on the Kurds – who had helped the US fight ISIS.

The news dampened the optimism in Greece after Pompeo's visit as it could have repercussions throughout the area and hit Greece hard at the same time Washington wants a greater US military presence in the country.

Greece also wants US backing over Turkish provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, including drilling for energy off the coast of Cyprus where the two countries, along with the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom, are guarantors of security

Without even informing the Pentagon, Trump said he would let Turkey move against the US allies the Kurds despite howls even from some of biggest supporters in the Republican party who said it could retrigger ISIS.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had also threatened to unleash 5.5 million refugees and migrants on the European Union through Greek islands unless he were allowed to strike the Kurds who would now be abandoned to their fate.