Nashville, Tennessee — Some Kurds living in the U.S. said they feel abandoned after the president decided toout of northern Syria. That includes Isam Zaxoyi, who has put his life on the line, serving as a translator for U.S. troops in some of the most dangerous places in the Middle East.
He's back in his adopted home of Nashville, the city with the largest concentration of Kurds in the U.S., with about 15,000 people. The vast majority arrived as refugees after other U.S. conflicts. They are grateful to be here but alarmed by the president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Zaxoyi called it a "betrayal."
"If you look at it in the big picture as all the countries will see, they will not trust America," Zaxoyi said.
Kasar Abdulla's family helped U.S. troops in Iraq during the first Gulf War and were targeted by Saddam Hussein. She's concerned the Trump administration's more restrictive asylum and refugee policies mean other Kurds won't get the chance to come to the U.S., as she did.
"It's hard for me right now to imagine there's another little girl like me who's fleeing, running away for her life the way I did when I was 6 years old, all because of the irresponsible decisions of one man," she said.
This issue transcends party politics, where both of Tennessee's Republican senators have criticized the president's decision that leaves the Kurds to fight for themselves.