Despite President Trump’s previous pledge to withdraw US troops from Syria, Washington is considering keeping some troops in al-Tanf, a strategic base in southeastern Syria, to counter Iran’s regional clout, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

“Al-Tanf is a critical element in the effort to prevent Iran from establishing a ground line of communications from Iran through Iraq through Syria to southern Lebanon in support of Lebanese Hezbollah,” an unnamed senior US military source told the magazine.

Iran has repeatedly been accused of having a military presence in Syria, as well as attempting to build a base there. However, Tehran has strongly refuted the claims, insisting that its military presence in the country is limited to sending military advisers at Damascus’ behest to help fight terrorists.

Foreign Policy also cited a US government official as saying that staying at al-Tanf could raise legal issues for the Trump administration.

First of all, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force stipulates the use of force against non-state militants, rather than nations like Iran, no matter how problematic they may be.

Secondly, there is a question mark over President Trump’s willingness to approve a plan that keeps US forces in Syria amid the current US troop withdrawal from the Middle Eastern country.

Earlier this month, Hilal Hilal, the assistant regional secretary of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, said that Damascus would continue to demand the withdrawal of US troops from the al-Tanf base.

“We believe that any foreign base created on Syrian soil without the consent of the president and the government of Syria represents an occupation and aggressive forces. Of course, we will fight the existence of such bases on our territory,” Hilal underscored.

ALSO READ  Iraqi forces detain several ISIS families escaping Syria's Al-Hawl Camp

His statement came after Trump announced on his Twitter page in mid-January that US troops in Syria are starting their pullout “while hitting the little remaining ISIS [Daesh*] terrorists from many directions”.

The remarks followed a Pentagon official’s statement, cited by AFP news agency, that the US is withdrawing non-essential equipment, not troops, from Syria “at this stage”.

In this photo taken on August 5, 2011, US troops from the Charlie Company, 2-87 Infantry, 3d Brigade Combat Team under Afghanistan’s International Security Assistance Force patrols Kandalay village following Taliban attacks on a joint US and Afghan National Army checkpoint protecting the western area of Kandalay village.

On 19 December, the White House announced plans to withdraw roughly 2,000 US troops from Syria within the next several months, a move that Trump claimed can be explained by the fact that American forces had implemented their task of obliterating Daesh* in the Arab country.

The decision was slammed by some US officials and prompted two resignations: US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, who announced that his views were no longer aligned with Trump’s, and Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the US coalition in Syria.



Source: Sputnik

Share this article:
  • 66

Notice: All comments represent the view of the commenter and not necessarily the views of AMN.

All comments that are not spam or wholly inappropriate are approved, we do not sort out opinions or points of view that are different from ours.

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

US will end doing a favour to Syria. Just think about what will happen if IRGC entrenches… An all out war against Israel with no Russian support. Half of the country is always destroyed, a quarter of the population has fled abroad, economy is at an all time bottom and Iran is willing to make Syria an arena for its irrealistic geopolitical ambitions. Netanyahu has already all needed casus-belli for an invasion. Moreover, while SAA will end crushed, be sure Erdogan will take profit to invade from the north… And is likely to invade Iran too… Syria’s neutrality is the… Read more »