US Mulls Leaving Some Troops In Syria To Guard Oilfields, Says Pentagon

More than 100 automobiles crossed the border into Iraq early on Monday from the northeast tip of Syria

Dohuk, Iraq/Kabul: 

The Pentagon is contemplating conserving some U.S. troops close to oilfields in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to assist deny oil to Islamic State militants, Defense Secretary Mark Esper mentioned on Monday.

US troops are crossing into Iraq as a part of a broader withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, a call that allowed Turkey to launch an offensive in opposition to the SDF which for years was a U.S. ally battling Islamic State.

More than 100 automobiles crossed the border into Iraq early on Monday from the northeast tip of Syria, the place Turkey agreed to pause its offensive for 5 days below a take care of Washington.

The truce expires late on Tuesday, simply after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is about to debate subsequent steps within the area at a gathering in Russia with President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to reporters throughout a visit to Afghanistan, Esper mentioned that, whereas the U.S. withdrawal was below manner, some troops have been nonetheless with associate forces close to oilfields and there had been discussions about conserving a few of them there.

He mentioned that was one choice and no choice had been made “with regard to numbers or anything like that”. The Pentagon’s job was to have a look at completely different choices, he added.

“We presently have troops in a couple of cities that (are)located right near that area,” Esper mentioned. “The purpose is to deny access, specifically revenue to ISIS (Islamic State) and any other groups that may want to seek that revenue to enable their own malign activities.”

Trump’s shift has opened a brand new chapter in Syria’s greater than eight-year struggle and prompted a rush by Turkey and by the Damascus authorities and its ally Russia to fill the vacuum left by the Americans.

His choice has been criticised in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside U.S. troops in a area wealthy in oil reserves and farmland.

The New York Times reported late on Sunday that Trump was now leaning in favour of a brand new army plan to maintain about 200 U.S. troops in jap Syria close to the Iraq border. The White House didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.


Turkey is searching for to arrange a “safe zone” as a buffer in opposition to the YPG militia, the primary element of the SDF. Ankara sees the YPG as a terrorist group as a consequence of its hyperlinks to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey.

Erdogan has mentioned Ankara will resume its assault in Syria when the deadline expires on Tuesday if the SDF has not pulled again from its proposed zone, which spans a lot of the border.

“We will take up this process with Mr Putin and after that we will take the necessary steps” in northeastern Syria, Erdogan informed a discussion board in Istanbul hosted by broadcaster TRT World on Monday, with out elaborating.

Erdogan has additionally mentioned Turkey will arrange a dozen remark posts within the “safe zone”, prompting criticism from Iran.

“We are against Ankara’s establishing of military posts in Syria,” Iranian overseas ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi informed a weekly information convention on Monday broadcast dwell on state TV.

“The issues should be resolved by diplomatic means … Syria’s integrity should be respected,” mentioned Mousavi, whose nation is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying that Moscow, which can be allied with Damascus, hopes its coordination with the United States and Turkey will assist safety and stability within the area.

Turkey’s practically two-week previous offensive has displaced some 300,000 folks and led to 120 casualties amongst civilians and 470 amongst SDF fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights mentioned on Sunday. Turkey says 765 terrorists however no civilians have been killed in its offensive.

On Monday, Reuters video pictures confirmed armoured automobiles carrying U.S. troops by means of the Sahela border crossing into Iraq’s northern province of Dohuk.

About 30 trailers and Hummers carrying heavier responsibility gear crossed, with troops in automobiles coming by means of, an Iraqi Kurdish safety supply mentioned.

On Sunday, the SDF mentioned that they had withdrawn from the border city of Ras al Ain below the U.S.-brokered ceasefire deal, however a spokesman for Turkish-backed Syrian rebels mentioned the withdrawal was not but full.

Turkish safety sources mentioned on Monday Kurdish YPG forces have been advancing in direction of Al Hasakah, which is south of the proposed secure zone, including some 125 automobiles had already left. They additionally mentioned greater than 80 Kurdish militants had been captured alive or surrendered to Turkish forces.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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