TOPSHOT - Civilians flee with their belongings amid Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019. - Turkey launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria today, with intensive bombardment paving the way for an invasion made possible by the withdrawal of US troops. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Civilians flee with their belongings amid Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019. - Turkey launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria today, with intensive bombardment paving the way for an invasion made possible by the withdrawal of US troops. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:03
How the US has betrayed the Kurds throughout history
CNN
Now playing
03:08
Families of detained protesters in Cuba speak out
People drink on the dance floor shortly after the reopening, at The Piano Works in Farringdon, in London, Monday, July 19, 2021. Thousands of young people plan to dance the night away at 'Freedom Day' parties after midnight Sunday, when almost all coronavirus restrictions in England are to be scrapped. Nightclubs, which have been shuttered since March 2020, can finally reopen. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Alberto Pezzali/AP
People drink on the dance floor shortly after the reopening, at The Piano Works in Farringdon, in London, Monday, July 19, 2021. Thousands of young people plan to dance the night away at 'Freedom Day' parties after midnight Sunday, when almost all coronavirus restrictions in England are to be scrapped. Nightclubs, which have been shuttered since March 2020, can finally reopen. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Now playing
02:17
UK is reopening and scientists are confused to what's happening
lebanon wedeman beirut
AFPTV
lebanon wedeman beirut
Now playing
02:58
What's happening in Tunisia and why it matters
Gold medalist Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry stands on the podium for the women's 200m backstroke swimming final medal ceremony at the National Aquatics Center during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing on August 16, 2008.    Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe set a new world record in the women's 200 metres backstroke with a time of two minutes 05.24 seconds in the final at the Beijing Olympics. US swimmer Margaret Hoelzer placed second and Japanese swimmer Reiko Nakamura placed third.  AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Gold medalist Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry stands on the podium for the women's 200m backstroke swimming final medal ceremony at the National Aquatics Center during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing on August 16, 2008. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe set a new world record in the women's 200 metres backstroke with a time of two minutes 05.24 seconds in the final at the Beijing Olympics. US swimmer Margaret Hoelzer placed second and Japanese swimmer Reiko Nakamura placed third. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:47
'You have to train your brain as much as any muscle'
i-Cable
Now playing
03:18
First person charged under Hong Kong national security law
A police convoy drives past a wall painted with the president's image down the alley of the entrance to the residence of the president in Port-au-Prince on July 15, 2021, in the wake of Haitian President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7, 2021. - The assassination of Jovenel Moise by armed mercenaries was planned in the neighboring Dominican Republic, say Haitian police, who announced the detention of the slain president's chief bodyguard and three other members of his security detail. (Photo by Valerie Baeriswyl / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP via Getty Images)
VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
A police convoy drives past a wall painted with the president's image down the alley of the entrance to the residence of the president in Port-au-Prince on July 15, 2021, in the wake of Haitian President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7, 2021. - The assassination of Jovenel Moise by armed mercenaries was planned in the neighboring Dominican Republic, say Haitian police, who announced the detention of the slain president's chief bodyguard and three other members of his security detail. (Photo by Valerie Baeriswyl / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
04:52
Exclusive: Signs of coverup in Haiti assassination investigation
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin, China, on July 26, 2021.  Beijing has indicated that the U.S. is treating China as an "imaginary enemy" after the meeting between top diplomats Sherman and Wang.
Sherman Meets With Wang in Tianjin, China, Beijing - 26 Jul 2021. U.S. State Department/UPI/Shutterstock
U.S. State Department/UPI/Shutterstock
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin, China, on July 26, 2021. Beijing has indicated that the U.S. is treating China as an "imaginary enemy" after the meeting between top diplomats Sherman and Wang. Sherman Meets With Wang in Tianjin, China, Beijing - 26 Jul 2021. U.S. State Department/UPI/Shutterstock
Now playing
01:09
Chinese official: The US portrays China as an imaginary enemy
ANI via Reuters
Now playing
02:09
Villagers left devastated by torrential rains in India
Now playing
03:38
Pakistani Taliban leader reacts to Afghan gains after US withdrawal
Australia vietnam indonesia covid holmes pkg intl hnk vpx_00000503.png
Australia vietnam indonesia covid holmes pkg intl hnk vpx_00000503.png
Now playing
02:27
Australian PM calls anti-lockdown protesters 'reckless' and 'self-defeating'
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 23: General view inside the stadium as fireworks go off while Naomi Osaka of Team Japan lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 23: General view inside the stadium as fireworks go off while Naomi Osaka of Team Japan lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:22
Tokyo 2020 Games officially underway after yearlong delay
DESKTOP afghan pilot 2
CNN
DESKTOP afghan pilot 2
Now playing
02:00
'They would just try to break me': First female Afghan Air Force pilot on adversity in the military
CNN
Now playing
02:24
See Tokyo 2020 Olympics from above
Biden town hall vpx
CNN
Biden town hall vpx
Now playing
01:45
Biden reveals what world leaders are asking him about America
siberia russia wildfires climate crisis Brunhuber ctw pkg intl ldn vpx_00003508.png
siberia russia wildfires climate crisis Brunhuber ctw pkg intl ldn vpx_00003508.png
Now playing
02:36
Huge swaths of Siberia are on fire. See how firefighters are responding
Washington CNN —  

A wide range of American military personnel and defense officials are expressing a deep sense of frustration and anger at the Trump administration’s refusal to support Syrian Kurds facing a Turkish military assault, over half a dozen US military and defense officials have told CNN.

Several US military and defense officials, including personnel deployed to Syria, expressed dismay at how the Trump administration has handled the situation.

One US official said it is well known that some senior US military officials are livid at how the Kurds have been treated given their role in helping the US fight ISIS.

Another senior American defense official told CNN that Trump’s failure to more forcefully oppose the invasion or do anything to stop the attacks on the Kurds meant Trump had given Turkey a green light, despite the administration’s public stance that it had consistently opposed the operation.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces “are fighting a force that intends to eliminate their people because we green lighted their operation,” a senior US defense official told CNN referring to the Turkish operation.

Another US military official involved in operations in Syria said he was “ashamed” of his country’s actions with regards to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, saying the US had failed to defend its one-time ally in the fight against ISIS.

Loss of trust

There’s also a concern that allies and potential partners won’t trust the US in the future.

“How do we expect anyone to partner with us now?” one US defense official told CNN.

“They did everything we asked them to do,” said another. “This is really not good for us.”

Turkey launched its long threatened incursion into the country after Trump ordered a small contingent of about 50 US troops to be pulled back from the border area amid a belief that a Turkish assault was imminent.

While Trump administration officials have argued that Turkey would have attacked the Kurds even if US troops had remained, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and a large bipartisan group of US lawmakers have slammed Trump for not opposing the Turkish operation more forcefully and for taking no concrete action to stop it.

Republican lawmakers in particular have harshly denounced Trump’s decision as a betrayal of the Kurds and a strategic blunder that will weaken American credibility, reverse gains against ISIS, make it harder for the US to build alliances and give a boost to Russia and Iran.

The Trump administration belatedly sought to halt the Turkish advance Monday, announcing a series of sanctions targeting Turkey’s Defense, Energy and Interior ministers as well as the Defense and Energy ministries.

Vice President Mike Pence also revealed that Trump had spoken with both Turkey’s President Erdogan and the Kurdish-leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi, adding that Trump had “received a firm commitment” from Erdogan not to attack the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani, a location considered to be critical to the SDF.

Pence said the US was also working to set up a ceasefire between the warring factions. However, given Trump’s order to withdraw all US troops from the area, the US will find it hard to monitor much less enforce such a ceasefire and it’s unclear how much leverage the US will have to impact the situation on the ground with one official calling it “too little, too late.”

Some of the frustration among US personnel is based on the fact that in order to appease Turkey, the US convinced the Syrian Kurds to dismantle their defensive fortifications along the border and pull their fighters back. The US said Turkey had agreed to the arrangement which sought to prevent unilateral Turkish military action and also provided Turkey with US intelligence about the border area.

Cognizant of Turkey’s enmity towards Syrian Kurdish groups, the US also resisted arming Kurdish elements of the SDF, only doing so in 2017. The US also only provided both Arabs and Kurds in the SDF with light arms such as Ak-47 rifles and did not arm them with heavy weapons that could be used against a modern military equipped with tanks, artillery and warplanes like Turkey’s.

But despite those efforts to appease Ankara, Turkey launched its invasion.

Senior members of the Trump administration have insisted that the US has not deserted the Syrian Kurds.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claimed Friday that the US is not abandoning its Kurdish allies who are now under attack from Turkey’s military offensive into Syria, even as he made clear the US will not intervene in the fight.

A ‘betrayal’

However, troops on the ground have described it as an abandonment and a “betrayal.”

“It’s pretty messed up what’s happening out here,” one US Special Forces soldier on the ground in Syria told CNN when news of the US withdrawal was announced.

“We want to offer support,” the soldier said, adding “We do not want to leave them in this situation.”

Several US military officials expressed disappointment that the Pentagon and State Department were not acting with a greater sense of urgency to protect the Kurds.

On Friday the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he had told the SDF not to “overreact” to the Turkish operation.

Asked about the widely publicized criticism from US Special Operations Forces about the Syria policy, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said Monday that while such “candor” was “important,” he said, “When national policy decisions are made, we salute and move out.”

“I like candor. It’s important to have that. Obviously, you don’t want to have disobedience, but you, it’s definitely, they have to have opinions. Everybody has opinions, you have a war of ideas, but ultimately that they, when national policy decisions are made, we salute and move out,” he told reporters.

“They should be extremely proud of what they’ve done. and there are higher level strategic politics involved, but as far as what our soldiers have done, what our special forces have done, they’ve done an incredible job over there and they ought to be very, very proud of it,” Gen. James McConville, the chief of staff of the Army, said Monday while appearing beside McCarthy.

In the absence of US assistance in the face of the Turkish attack the Kurds have sought protection from the Assad regime in Damascus and their Russian military backers, something Trump tweeted Monday that he was OK with.

Trump had earlier Monday cited uncorroborated reports that Kurdish officials had released some of the 10,000 ISIS prisoners being held by the SDF, a notion that was immediately rejected by a member of his own administration.

“Falsely claiming that the SDF Kurds are letting ISIS prisoners out of prison is wrong,” a senior defense official said.

This story has been updated.

CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed reporting.