Thursday October 4, 2018
Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 29, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem demanded that US, French and Turkish forces leave his country immediately or be dealt with “accordingly”. Indeed, with the Islamic State reduced to insignificance, they have no justification for being there. The message is primarily addressed to Washington. Trained and equipped by the United States, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control roughly 25-30 percent of Syria, including areas which hold the bulk of the country's oil and gas reserves. The group has pressed for Syria’s division along federal lines with autonomous cantons created in various regions. It has already set up cantonal administrations in areas it controls with their own revenues, police and public services.
The SDF is backed by 2,200 US troops on the ground illegally operating in a foreign country. The forward operating base at Al Tanf is manned by American military. It is located at the strategic border area between Iraq, Syria and Jordan. Last month, the Marine Corps conducted an exercise to demonstrate that the United States is there for the long haul.
Presidential candidate Trump promised to stay out of foreign wars. In April, the US president said the forces would leave Syria soon with the decision taken “very quickly” on how long they will remain there. “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now,” he stated. On Sept.24, US National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton said the US would remain in Syria "until Iran leaves". “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” the NSA formulated the US position. According to Military Times, his statement was “signaling a fundamental shift from the current counter-terrorism operations to a mission focused more on geopolitical maneuvering and proxy warfare.”The source believes the White House has revealed a massive mission creep. It cited James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Heritage Foundation, who said. “I would prefer to keep US troops there indefinitely, because they also serve a purpose in blocking Iran’s freedom of movement and access to lines of communication that would connect western Iraq with Lebanon.”