Since President Trump decided a week ago, after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria's Kurdish-held border with Turkey, Turkey invaded Syria, Islamic State prisoners previously guarded by the embattled Kurds started escaping, America's erstwhile Kurdish allies joined forces with Syria's Russian-backed government, many of Trump's Republican and Fox News allies are horrified, current and former U.S. military personnel are seething, the NATO alliance is teetering, and on Tuesday, Russian troops "moved to fill the void left by the United States," The Associated Press reports.
Trump's decision to effectively abandon the Kurds, in other words, doesn't seem very strategically sound at this point. At least not for the United States.
Russia, meanwhile, is "quickly moving to entrench its de facto power broker role," AP says, and that includes sending Russian troops in to keep the Turkish and Syrian armies from directly clashing. Using its troops as human shields may not seem like a winning position for Moscow, but Russia was "gloating on their global television propaganda network" as U.S. forces left the area, Defense One executive editor Kevin Baron captioned this video posted by RT.
Russian journalists are also documenting cheerful Russian soldiers apparently moving into deserted U.S. military outposts.
"It's all in working order!" translated Telegraph foreign correspondent Roland Oliphant, who added: "The Russians are having fun around playing around in this abandoned U.S. military base in Syria."