UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – “The French have sent special forces to Syria to reinforce our mission over the past two weeks,” Mattis told Congress. “You will see a new effort in the Euphrates Valley in the coming days.”
But at the same time, the US Secretary of State warned against withdrawing US forces from the areas cleared of the Daesh, and called for the formation of a local force that could continue to press against any attempt by a supporter of return.
Asked whether the presence of local partners without US forces would be a risk, Matisse said: “I am sure we will probably regret it.”
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his desire for a rapid withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops deployed in Syria to fight a duel, but he has not set a specific timetable.
During his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macaron at the White House, Trump spoke of “leaving a strong footprint” in Syria upon the withdrawal of his troops, while the latter felt that Iran should not be left to influence in Syria.
Trump’s desire to withdraw has raised concerns among the military that the move would undermine American efforts to defeat a fanatic and leave room for Iranian militias in the region.