US to deploy 2,500 troops to Syria: Report

The Cradle, July 18, 2023 —

A US military official recently said that there is a Russian-Iranian initiative to expel Washington’s troops from Syria.

Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported on 18 January that Washington intends to deploy around 2,500 troops to northern Syria.

“Following Turkiye’s relentless struggle against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a series of controversial steps have been taken consecutively by the US,” the report reads, adding that Washington “has recently announced the deployment of 2,500 troops to northern regions of Syria.”

“Several sources reveal that the 2,500 US soldiers, having completed their training, are scheduled to be deployed to Syria and Iraq for a minimum of nine months,” the Turkish report goes on to say.

According to the report, their “primary objective” will be to support Kurdish militants, particularly the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are military aligned with the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG), a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara.

Yeni Safak says that this deployment raises concerns in Turkiye, given Washington’s recent commitment to counterterrorism efforts during the NATO summit in Lithuania last week.

Ankara has long accused foreign intelligence, namely US intelligence, of supporting the PKK. While Washington denies this, it openly backs the SDF under the pretext of combatting ISIS.

The deployment plans “cast doubt on the clarity … of the US counterterrorism position, and raise questions about its commitment to its allies.”

On top of the deployment, the US has dispatched advanced military equipment to Syria recently, the report says, including more HIMARS rocket systems, which have been sent to the northeastern Deir Ezzor governorate.

HIMARS had previously already arrived in Syria, however, Washington denied they were bound for Kurdish militias.

US-backed Kurds have a strong presence in the region. However, northeastern Syria is also where a large portion of US occupation troops are stationed. Their bases in this region have been the targets of numerous drone and missile attacks carried out by Iran-linked groups in the country.

Additionally, as an ally of Damascus which strongly contributed to the defeat of militant groups in the country, Moscow’s presence in Syria has been bolstered.

US officials said on 17 July that a Russian jet recently flew “very close” to a US surveillance aircraft, “putting the lives of the four American crew members in danger,” Politico reported.

According to Yeni Safak, Washington is using “threats from Russia and Iran” as a pretext for the massive troop deployment, while the true objective is to “bolster” the Kurds.

However, a few days ago, a senior US military official was quoted as saying that Russian and Iranian forces in Syria have been coordinating with the specific aim of forcing Washington’s troops to eventually withdraw from the country.

Additionally, the US has continued to reinforce its bases across northeast Syria.

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