Green Berets who served with Kurdish allies speak out

"I fought with these guys and watched them die for us"

Jack Murphy
October 21, 2019 - 12:17 pm
SDF Commando

DVIDs, Photo by Spc. Alec Dionne


Two U.S. Special Forces veterans have spoken out publicly about what they view as a betrayal of our Kurdish allies in the Middle East, by abandoning them in Syria with President Trump's abrupt policy decision to withdraw American troops out of Syria to Western Iraq. 

Mark Giaconia and Greg Walker both served with the Kurds early on during America's second jaunt into Iraq, dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom. Giaconia participated in the joint CIA-Special Forces Operation called Viking Hammer in Northern Iraq which took down the Ansar al-Islam terrorist group by working hand in glove with Kurdish partner forces.

"I fought with these guys and watched them die for us," Giaconia told Reuters

Greg Walker worked with the Kurds in a variety of capacities, including after he retired as a contractor. After seeing one of his host-nation counterparts in Kurdistan put his life on the line for him, he thought, "this is the kind of ally and friend I want." Walker was furious that the United States abandoned the Kurds in Syria.

The U.S. withdrawal from Syria was interpreted as a green light to Turkey to launch a military incursion into the Kurdish enclave known as Rojava in North-East Syria. In recent days, the Kurds negotiated their re-entry into the Syrian state although many details remain to be hashed out. Because the Turkish military and their Free Syrian Army proxies were taking over large swaths of Syria and murdering Kurds, it was in the interest of both parties to cut a deal as soon as possible.  Syrian and Russian forces have now moved into the previously Kurdish held towns and cities in North-East Syria.

Giaconia wrote about his experiences working with the Kurds in 2003 in his book titled, "One Green Beret." 

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