U.S. to pull last troops from north Syria - Syrian army to redeploy on border | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

12 November, Tuesday


U.S. to pull last troops from north Syria - Syrian army to redeploy on border

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The United States said on Sunday it will withdraw its remaining 1,000 troops from northern Syria in the face of an expanding Turkish offensive while Syria’s army struck a deal with Kurdish forces to redeploy along its border with Turkey, both major victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reports.

The developments illustrate Washington’s waning influence over events in Syria and the failure of the U.S. policy of keeping Assad from reasserting state authority over areas lost during the more than eight-year conflict with rebels trying to end his rule.

The developments also represent wins for Russia and Iran, which have backed Assad since 2011 when his violent effort to crush what began as peaceful protests against his family’s decades-long rule of Syria exploded into a full-blown civil war.

While the U.S. withdrawal moves American troops out of the line of fire, the return of Syrian soldiers to the Turkish border opens up the possibility of a wider conflagration should the Syrian army come in direct conflict with Turkish forces.

The Turkish onslaught in northern Syria has also raised the prospect that Islamic State militants and their families held by the Kurdish forces targeted by Turkey may escape - scores were said to have done so already - and permit the group’s revival.

The remarkable turn of events was set in motion a week ago when U.S. President Donald Trump decided to withdraw about 50 special operations forces from two outposts in northern Syria, a step widely seen as paving the way for Turkey to launch its week-long incursion against Kurdish militia in the region.

Turkey aims to neutralize the Kurdish YPG militia, the main element of Washington’s Kurdish-led ally, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has been a key U.S. ally in dismantling the jihadist “caliphate” set up by Islamic State militants in Syria.

Ankara regards the YPG as a terrorist group aligned with Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.

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