US military presence in Syria is becoming increasingly complex

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The equation of the US military presence in Syria is further complicated by the fact that operations are limited to a small area that is difficult to defend and focus on “protecting” the oil fields that legally belong to the Syrian state.

President Donald Trump has denounced “endless wars.” He decided on October 6 to withdraw 1,000 troops deployed in northeastern Syria to fight jihadists.

But a month later, the number of US troops remains roughly the same with the replacement of special forces that have left from the north with armored units in the Deir Ezzor area, where the main oil fields are located.

– Withdrawal doesn’t look like that.

The withdrawal from the border areas with Turkey “is continuing. Most of the equipment and personnel have been withdrawn from this area,” US Admiral William Byrne told a Pentagon press conference Thursday.

Byrne said Kurdish fighters in the SDF, who initially felt betrayed by the United States, had resumed cooperation with US forces.

The Pentagon continues to provide them with weapons, he said.

Withdrawal is no longer possible. “We are determined to stay in the region,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told a news conference.

He said US forces would remain in Syria “as long as necessary.”

While Trump asserts that the US military’s current task is to protect oil fields, Pentagon officials must alter that to assert that it is against jihadists, as a justification for US intervention in a foreign region against the will of its government.

“I will not say that the mission is to secure the oil fields. The task is to defeat ISIS. Securing the oil fields is a matter for this mission, and the goal is to prevent IS from taking advantage of the oil fields,” Byrne said.

“So it’s about denying ISIS access to it, as well as allowing the Kurds and the SDF to control the oil,” Hoffman said.

He said the aim was to “give the Kurds in the region, the SDF a source of income and the possibility of forming a force in their military campaign against IS.”

“It’s not a new task,” Hoffman said. “Everyone seems to think it has changed, but it’s not.”

-Serious mission-

While US forces once controlled the entire Syrian territory east of the Euphrates by protecting airspace and the natural boundaries of the river, the presence of Russian, Turkish and Syrian forces in the north opened a new front, explaining the dispatch of armored vehicles.

“There are two reasons, one using fast-moving vehicles, the other is protecting our troops. They are armored,” said Vice Admiral Byrne, noting that this option was due to “threats.”

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress allowed the executive branch to carry out unlimited military operations against terrorism, and the Pentagon relied on this mandate to justify control of Syria’s oil fields.

“The United States is not benefiting from all this because the profits come from Syria’s democratic forces,” Hoffman said.


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