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As US Troops Depart, Residents Pelt Them

'Like rats, America is running away,' says one man in Kurdish-dominated city
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 21, 2019 11:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Angry over the US withdrawal, residents of a Kurdish-dominated Syrian city hurled potatoes at departing American military vehicles as they drove by on Monday, the AP reports. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said a small residual US military force will stay in eastern Syria to protect Kurdish-held oil fields for at least the coming weeks and he was discussing options to keep them there to continue the fight against Islamic State militants and keep them from profiting from the oil fields. "Like rats, America is running away," one man shouted in Arabic at a convoy of armored vehicles flying American flags passing down an avenue in the northeastern city of Qamishli, according to video by the Kurdish news agency. The video showed people pelting the vehicles with potatoes and shouting, "No America," and "America liar," in English.

Another man shouted obscenities and talked of babies in Kurdish-held areas who have died in the Turkish offensive. One of the vehicles reversed down the street and over a sidewalk as several people walked after it, shaking their fists in the air and shouting insults. The scene encapsulated the Kurds' feelings of betrayal after President Trump two weeks ago abruptly decided to pull US troops out of border areas, abandoning the Kurdish-led force that was a key ally in the long and bloody fight that eventually brought down the Islamic State group's rule over northeast and eastern Syria. At another location, near the town of Tal Tamr, a group of protesters raised banners to departing US troops late Sunday, according to an AP video. One man blocked the way of a US van with a poster reading: "Thanks for US people, but Trump betrayed us."

(Read more Syria stories.)

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