With the US gone, the implications of their departure is beginning to sink in across the Middle East

The moment that changed the Middle East arrived with a sudden silence. Just before 7pm on Sunday, the internet was cut across north-eastern Syria where, for half an hour, the Kurds of the region had been digesting a news flash. The Syrian government was returning to two towns, Manbij and Kobane. The implication quickly sunk in.

The regional capital, Qamishli, soon emptied; streets that had bustled with minibuses and shoppers became eerie and still. With the internet down phones were no help and nor were officials who had vanished along with the traffic. Air seemed to be suddenly vacuumed from the city, and the few people still around knew exactly what it meant: this was the moment power changed hands. It was a time to be scared.

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