The commander of US-backed forces in Syria urged on Monday that around 1000 to 1500 international forces should remain in Syria, in order to help attack Islamic State. He even expressed his wish that especially the US deter their plan of total pullout of their troops.
The statement was made by Mazloum Kobani, commander–in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, after his discussions with the senior US generals in Syria. He offered the most inclusive view about lasting military assistance from the US led coalition.
It also demonstrates that Kobani is still having hopes that U.S. President Donald Trump may thaw his withdrawal order, which has been chastised by allies at home and overseas and which prompted Trump’s defense secretary to resign.
Kobani told reporters who traveled with the U.S. military to the discussions at an airbase in northeast Syria that they would like to have air cover, air support, and also a ground force to match with their forces.
With U.S. assistance, the Kurdish-led militants are confident to grab Islamic State’s last holdout in eastern Syria. Islamic State was at the height of their power four years back, and used to occupy about a third of both Iraq and Syria in a self-announced caliphate. However, Islamic State still has thousands of fighters, who, now are scattered, are anticipated to switch to guerrilla-style assaults.
Kobani stated that there were talks about possibly French and British troops backing the SDF in Syria. But he emphasized he also demands at least “a limited group of American forces”, who are now around 2,000 in Syria, to remain as well.
Joseph Votel, U.S. Army General and head of Central Command, stated that after discussions with Kobani that he was still carry out Trump’s December decree for a total pullout of U.S. forces. Votel on being asked about any consultation on an ongoing US presence in Syria stated that the talks aren’t about the US forces staying in Syria. They are looking into the capability of the coalition forces in Syria.