In this April 4, 2018 photo, a U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council soldier, left, speaks with a U.S. soldier, at a U.S. position near the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij town, north Syria. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria has rattled Washington’s Kurdish allies, who are its most reliable partner in Syria and among the most effective ground forces battling the Islamic State group. Kurds in northern Syria said commanders and fighters met into the night, discussing their response to the surprise announcement Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
BEIRUT — The United States’ Kurdish allies had been gearing up for a new fight for weeks, digging trenches and defense tunnels in northeastern Syria in preparation for an offensive Turkey’s president warned was imminent.