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US military ops in Syria getting complicated for Washington

Published: November 8, 2019
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Source: AFP

The Pentagon is facing tough questions about the US military's role in Syria. Troops are now limited to a smaller, tougher to defend zone, and focused on protecting oil fields that legally belong to Damascus.

The following is a look at the key factors in play:

- A retreat in name only -

On October 6, US President Donald Trump announced that the 1,000 soldiers deployed in northeast Syria to fight the Islamic State jihadist group would pull back.

"It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home," he tweeted.

But a month later, the United States has more or less the same number of personnel on the ground.

The special forces who were withdrawn from the area along the Turkish border were replaced with armored units in the area of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, where the country's main oil fields are located.

Rear Admiral William Byrne, the vice director of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Thursday that the "steady withdrawal" from areas near Turkey was ongoing, and that most equipment had been moved.

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