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Michael Stephens, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, another London-based think tank, said he was not altogether surprised by the U.S. decision and warned it could have far-reaching consequences for the region. “Ultimately the question was not if the U.S. would withdraw, but when and how,” he said. “More concerning, of course, is how the fight against ISIS is run from this moment on. It is difficult to see how this agreement does anything other than give Turkey a carte blanche to socially engineer Kurdish majority areas of northeast Syria," Stephens added.