Lately, an increase of Syrian refugees from Jordan are returning to Syria; the UNHCR remarked on the “notable trend of spontaneous returns.” Since July, around 1,000 Syrian refugees return to Syria from Jordan every month; in part due to the de-escalation zone, established by the US, Russia, and Jordan, across southwest Syria.
Kurds refer bitterly to the first American betrayal: American Abrams tanks entering the city of Kirkuk bearing the Oh Hussein banner, a flag carried by some Shiite militants. Kurds point to two factors that were decisive in bringing about this violent end to their ambition to create an independent state: the American stance, and divisions between the leading Kurdish forces. As they enter the city of Raqqa, Syrian Kurds are wondering if the Americans will abandon them too. Are Kurdish forces being used to confront ISIS, only to be left to the mercy of neighboring countries and the Syrian regime?