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Christians urged to pray for political solutions in Syria as US withdraw troops

by Tola Mbakwe

On Monday night President Donald Trump announced his decision to abandon Syrian Kurdish fighters ahead of an expected Turkish incursion into the region.

The president declared that US troops will step aside for an expected attack on the Syrian Kurds, long-time US allies against the Islamic State group.

Rev Andrew Ashdown, who has done extensive research on Christian and Muslim relations in the country said: "there are very big questions about what will happen to the thousands of ISIS fighters."

"I think that we really should be seeking a political solution," he said.

"There are multiple political reasons why multiple players were involved. There are great threats from Turkey and great threats from other areas."

"Remember that there are many Christian communities in northeast Syria that have been suffering. Actually, there have been reports of oppression from Kurdish groups of local Christians on the ground as well. So it's highly complex, multi layered. We need to be paying for a political solution where all parties can actually talk and come to pragmatic solutions."

Fears over a revived so-called Islamic State - also referred to as Daesh - have been aired by a former defence minister.

Conservative Tobias Ellwood raised concerns over the US's decision to remove troops from north-eastern Syria and warned it will leave the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) "exposed" to the expected Turkish offensive to establish a 30-kilometre "safe zone" in northern Syria.

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