US will retain a military base in Syria despite withdrawal | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

18 August,


US will retain a military base in Syria despite withdrawal

Conflicts A- A A+

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered contradictory messages in a speech in Cairo on January 10. On the one hand, he said Washington will withdraw American troops from Syria in line with Donald Trump’s momentous announcement on December 19, and on the other, he emphasized the US will continue fighting the Islamic State and will also contain the influence of Iran in the Middle East region.

Obviously, both these divergent goals are impossible to achieve, unless Washington is planning to maintain some sort of long-term military presence in Syria. In an exclusive report by the Middle East Eye’s Turkey correspondent, Ragip Soylu, on January 10, he mentions that the US delegation presented a five-point document to the Turkish officials during National Security Advisor John Bolton’s recent visit to Turkey.

"Those in attendance with Bolton during the two-hour meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara included General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and James Jeffrey, the US special envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition," according to the report.

A senior Trump administration official briefed on objectives outlined at the meeting, speaking to the reporter, said, “As the president has stated, the US will maintain whatever capability is necessary for operations needed to prevent the Islamic State’s resurgence.”

And then the reporter makes a startling revelation, though hidden deep in the report and mentioned rather cursorily: "The US is not withdrawing from the base at al-Tanf at this time," the official said. The revelation hardly comes as a surprise, though, as John Bolton alluded to maintaining long-term US military presence at the al-Tanf base during his visit to Jerusalem on January 6.

The al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it sits on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups, including Maghawir al-Thawra, there.

Thus, for all practical purposes, it appears the withdrawal of American troops from Syria will be limited to Manbij and Kobani in northern Syria and Qamishli and al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria in order to address the concerns of Washington’s NATO-ally Turkey pertaining to the Kurdish militias which Ankara regards as "terrorists," and the fate of US forces operating alongside Kurds in Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria and al-Tanf military base in particular is still in doubt.

The regions currently being administered by the Kurds in Syria include the Kurdish-majority Qamishli and al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria along the border with Iraq, and the Arab-majority towns of Manbij to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria and Kobani to the east of the Euphrates River along the Turkish border.

Regarding the evacuation of American troops from the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria, clearly, an understanding has been reached between Washington and Ankara. According to the terms of the agreement, the Erdogan administration released the US pastor Andrew Brunson on October 12, which had been a longstanding demand of the Trump administration, and has also decided not to make public the audio recordings of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, which could have implicated another American-ally the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the assassination.

original.antiwar.com

Report a mistake by marking it and pressing Ctrl+Enter

EurasiaDiary © Must be hyperlinked when used.

Follow us:
Twitter: @Eurasia_Eng
Facebook: EurasiaEng


Загрузка...