A new report causes more confusion over Washington’s military role in Syria, saying the US military has been working on plans to dispatch dozens of additional troops to northern Syria only after President Donald Trump talked of a pullout from the Arab state in the near future.
Citing several US defense and administration officials, CNN reported Monday that the plans have been under discussion for several days and were first considered before Trump’s remarks last week that the US would “be coming out of Syria like very soon.”
A National Security Council meeting is set for Tuesday to discuss the administration’s purported fight against Daesh in Syria as well as the presence of around 2,000 US forces in Syria.
Trump’s surprise withdrawal comments on March 29 ran contrary to remarks by his administration officials, including secretaries of state and defense, who had earlier said American forces should remain on Syrian soil for the foreseeable future.
US President Donald Trump has said US forces will pull out of Syria “very soon” and lamented what he said is Washington’s waste of $7 trillion in Middle East wars.
Hours earlier, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White had stressed the need for American forces to stay in Syria, where Washington claims is supporting the fight against Daesh.
This is while Daesh lost all the territories under its control both in Syria and neighboring Iraq late last year. The US had earlier said it would leave Syria after the defeat of the terror group, but it has so far refused to do so.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country supports the Syrian army in its anti-terror operations, once again slammed Washington’s military presence in Syria as illegal under international law.
Lavrov welcomed Trump’s plan to pull US forces out of Syria as a sign of the US president’s commitment to Washington’s earlier promises.
The top Russian diplomat, however, voiced concerns over recent US military activities in Syria.
“What we find particularly worrisome is that despite constant promises the United States’ sole goal in Syria is struggle against terrorism over the past month we have seen US efforts to get deeply entrenched on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov said Washington “had sent its commandos and air forces and created a coalition in violation of the UN Charter, which requires respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member-states.”
Lavrov, however, expressed hope Trump would stick to US promises to leave Syria.
The Russian military has repeatedly revealed US support for the Daesh terrorists operating in Syria. It reported last month that the US had set up around 20 military bases in areas controlled by Kurdish militants it supports in northern Syria.
A top Russian security official says the US has set up around 20 military bases in areas controlled by the Kurdish militants it supports in northern Syria.
Besides its unilateral military activities in Syria, Washington has also been leading a coalition of allies in a so-called fight against Daesh since 2014.
The strikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.
Damascus has on several occasions written to the UN, complaining that the US was flagrantly violating its sovereignty. The US supports militants fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad and has repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions.