Andrew Milburn, a Marine colonel who retired in March as the deputy commander of U.S. special operations forces in the Middle East, told NBC News that the small number of U.S. troops in Syria “bought us a lot for a very low price.”

“By withdrawing these guys, who knows where this will end,” said Milburn, who is one of the few prominent battlefield veterans of the ISIS campaign to express on the record what many current and former soldiers have been saying privately.

“As a guy who has fought [alongside] the Kurds,” he said, “on an emotional level this is gut-wrenching.”…

“Trump definitely could have stopped it from happening,” Milburn said of the Turkish incursion. “We’ve stopped the worst of Turkish territorial ambitions in the north a number of times” by threatening to respond with force to any Turkish attack on the Kurds.