Despite President Donald Trump’s promises to withdraw American troops out of Syria, the US intends to maintain a presence on the ground with a “small peacekeeping group” for an unspecified “period” of time, the White House said.
“A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement without elaborating, Reuters reports.
Trump took the world by surprise back in December, when he announced the US withdrawal from Syria without specifying a timetable.
The initiative was not well received in the Pentagon, even forcing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign after clashing with Trump, as both the generals and politicians have been claiming that US presence in Syria is vital and that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group would inevitably reemerge if all of some 2,000 Americans leave.
The US withdrawal, initially estimated to take some 3-4 month to complete, is being stalled by concerns about potential Turkish incursion into the territories currently controlled by the US-backed Syrian Kurds.
On Thursday, Trump had another phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the issue.
Washington wants Turkey to agree to a buffer ‘safe zone’ in northeastern Syria and is also contemplating arming the Syrian Kurds, despite Ankara’s strong opposition to the move.
Source: RT
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Karel Vd Geest

US is not contemplating arming syrian kurds, it is arming syrian kurds.

Maybe they meant continuing after withdrawal, which has already been promised as long as SDF keeps pressure on IS.

SDF can do that both in the east, sleeper cells, and in the west, hunting for those IS that rebranded themselves as turkish mercenaries.

Another reason for SDF to focus on Afrin, as it is becoming the focus point for both IS and HTS forces sheltered by Turkey, aiding and abetting with a force they themselves consider terrorist.

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Karel Vd Geest

Keeping just 200 men in the region is completely symbolic. However, if the US backs it up with a no fly zone, keeps the french and UK involved and keeps up airsupport and materiel, it might actually work. With some negotiating it might actually become a somewhat larger number. It would mean for Assad to lose 30% of his country, all of his own fault, but it will give at least some 4 million Syrians the chance to build a life in freedom and one day maybe even in prosperity. Btw think on it : the region wants to come… Read more »

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Sultan Erdogan or Assad? I think that the brave Sultan’s army would be a much bigger problem. How much does Assad have soldiers at all?

rabbi drewzif
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rabbi drewzif

Spoken like a true imperialist, you must be proud of yourself 🙁

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Gryz

Mmmh… no. I’d rather say will rather keep unsolvable open wounds between two allies for America, and utterly negate any possibility for them to come to any sort of even cold Entente with Assad,who in turn will dig ever deeper into wide-open Iranian and Russian arms. A no-fly zone would be a joke breached almost immediately by Russian airplanes in a show of force that would cost nothing militarily while bringing gigantic PR and geopolitical points for Moscow, Cuba style. All the while the region will be a landlocked enclave stuck between completely hostile parties that with prevent it from… Read more »