US Military Hands Base In Syria Over To Russians, Turkey Holds 50 US Nukes ‘Hostage’ As US Sanctions Bargaining Chips

There have been several developments in Syria over the last 24 hours. Here are two significant events…

From Zero Hedge, we learned first that Erdogan is holding dozens of tactical nukes “hostage”:

Amid all the media and pundit outrage since Turkey’s President Erdogan launched his so-called ‘Operation Peace Spring’ into northeast Syria last week, vowing to wipe out Syrian Kurdish forces who’ve long held the border areas, what’s been largely missing is acknowledgement of the uncomfortable fact that NATO ally Turkey has long hosted a major portion of America’s nuclear Cold War-era arsenal stored across Europe.

And as Erdogan threatens to “open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants” to Europe while under increased international criticism for the rapidly rising civilian death toll in Syria, The New York Times reports the following bombshell Monday: some 50 US tactical nukes are “now essentially Erdogan’s hostages”.

The Times cites growing alarm by top State and Energy Dept. officials over what the publication likens as a “disastrous” and confusing break from US policy in northern Syria, given not only further expected destabilization in the region, but worsening and unpredictable ties with Erdogan’s Turkey, given Trump is now preparing to sign into effect severe sanctions with the aim of attempting to “limit” his military incursion.

The NYT report continues

Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.

It’s believed that across Europe the US has some 150 US nuclear weapons at various bases, “specifically B61 gravity bombs,” according to a leaked NATO report which gained widespread media coverage earlier this year.

Also from Zero Hedge, this morning we are learning of what could be described as a hasty pull-out?

Here’s more on the US military vacating a base in Manbij:

A stunning development in the key northern Syrian city of Manbij — the Pentagon has confirmed a planned handover to Russian military forces is underway amid a Turkish military assault on the region. This also hours after President Trump tweeted that Assad “wants naturally to protect the Kurds” and that the problem should be left to local powers.

Late Monday the main US base in Manbij was filmed empty of US forces, and American convoys were also spotted hastily pulling out of the city as Syrian national forces entered, following Sunday’s historic deal between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Assad government. Newsweek reports the developments follows:

The U.S. military has begun a hasty exit from Syria’s northern city of Manbij, and is set to help Russia establish itself there amid a Turkish attempt to defeat Kurdish-led, Pentagon-backed fighters at the strategic location, Newsweek has learned.

And the US coalition spokesman has now confirmed much of Newsweek’s reporting, announcing a “deliberate withdrawal” from Manbij and northeast Syria, saying, “We are out of Manbij”.

This will of course make it impossible for pro-Turkish forces to take the town, and it’s likely that Erdogan may have been privy to Russian plans from the start. 

“It is essentially a handover,” the official continued to Newsweek. “However, it’s a quick out, not something that will include walk-throughs, etc., everything is about making out with as much as possible of our things while destroying any sensitive equipment that cannot be moved.”

Local footage aired by RT showed the unprecedented moment a retreating column of US forces from Manbij passed a truck full of Syrian Army troops, headed the opposite direction.