U.S. Forces in Syria - American Troops

The United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria, settling into a more stable posture of about 600 troops in the rest of the country after repositioning and reducing forces, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. Esper’s remarks in an interview with Reuters could signal the end of a period of turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military presence in Syria after President Donald Trump’s initial withdrawal order in October. Since then, troop levels in Syria have fallen about 40 percent from around 1,000. Esper stressed he retained the ability to move in and out smaller numbers of forces as needed into Syria. But he suggested the number of troops will fluctuate around the 600-level for the foreseeable future. “It will be relatively static around that number. But if we see things happen … I can dial up a little bit,” Esper said late on Wednesday during a flight back from the NATO summit on the outskirts of London. Esper also didn’t rule out being able to reduce U.S. troop levels in Syria further if European allies contributed to the Syria mission. “The coalition is talking a lot again. We could see some allies want to volunteer troops,” Esper said, without suggesting any new contribution was imminent. “If an allied country, a NATO country, decided to give us 50 people, I might be able to turn off 50 people.” The U.S. military says it is focused on preventing a resurgence of Islamic State in Syria and carried out aContinue reading

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Bashar al-Assad - Syria Politics News Headlines

Once again, Syrian President Bashar Assad has snapped up a prize from world powers that have been maneuvering in his country’s multi-front wars. Without firing a shot, his forces are returning to towns and villages in northeastern Syria where they haven’t set foot for years. Assad was handed one victory first by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from northeastern Syria, analysts said. Then he got another from a deal struck between Turkey and Russia, Damascus’ ally. Abandoned by U.S. forces and staring down the barrel of a Turkish invasion, Kurdish fighters had no option but to turn to Bashar al-Assad’s government and to Russia for protection from their No. 1 enemy. For once, the interests of Damascus, Moscow and Ankara came into alignment. Turkey decided it was better having Assad’s forces along the border, being helped by Russia, than to have the frontier populated by Kurdish-led fighters, whom it considers to be terrorists. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin that allows Syrian troops to move back into a large part of the territory and ensure Kurdish fighters stay out. The Kurds once hoped an alliance with Washington would strengthen their ambitions for autonomy, but now they are left hoping they can extract concessions from Moscow and Damascus to keep at least some aspects of their self-rule. Turkey, which had backed rebels trying to oust Assad, has now implicitly given the Syrian leader “de facto recognition,” said LinaContinue reading

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan - Donald Trump - Bashar al-Assad - Vladimir Putin - Turkey - US - Syria - Russia - News

President Donald Trump declared success in Syria on Wednesday and created a bumper-sticker moment to illustrate his campaign promise to put a stop to American involvement in “endless wars.” But with his abrupt withdrawal from what he called “bloodstained sand,” the president ceded American influence over a huge swath of the region to rivals and may have spun the Middle East into a new season of uncertainty. In remarks at the White House, Donald Trump made the case that American administrations before him wasted too much money and blood on sectarian and tribal fighting in which the U.S. had no place meddling. “We have spent $8 trillion on wars in the Middle East, never really wanting to win those wars,” Donald Trump said. “But after all that money was spent, and all those lives lost, the young men and women, gravely wounded so many, the Middle East is less safe, less stable and less secure than before these conflicts began.” But analysts and lawmakers said Trump declared victory for a crisis along the border of Turkey and Syria that was arguably of his own making, while underplaying the reality that he has strengthened the hand of Russia. Critics also say the move will roll back advances made by U.S.-led forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The president also still has work to do to repair the political damage he’s done within his own base among those who say he abandoned the Kurds, longtime U.S. allies who foughtContinue reading

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U.S. Forces in Syria - American Troops

“It’s time to bring our soldiers back home, USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones” and “Bringing soldiers home!,” Donald Trump said.

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YPG, Syrian Kurdish Military in Syria

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said there were still clashes inside Ras al-Ayn and medical personnel could not enter to help the wounded.

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Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan Phone Calls, Turkey and Russia

“Our proposal is for the terrorists to lay down their arms, leave their equipment, destroy the traps they have created, and leave the safe zone we designated, as of tonight,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “If this is done, our Operation Peace Spring will end by itself.”Continue reading

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - Turkey Politics News Headlines - Erdogan

Targeting Turkey’s economy, President Donald Trump announced sanctions Monday aimed at restraining the Turks’ assault against Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria — an assault Turkey began after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way. The United States also called on Turkey to stop the invasion and declare a ceasefire, and Trump is sending Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser Robert O’Brien to Ankara as soon as possible in an attempt to begin negotiations. Pence said Trump spoke directly to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised not attack the border town of Kobani, which in 2015 witnessed the Islamic State group’s first defeat in a battle by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters. “President Trump communicated to him very clearly that the United States of American wants Turkey to stop the invasion, implement an immediate ceasefire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence,” Pence said. The Americans were scrambling for Syria’s exits, a move criticized at home and abroad as opening the door to a resurgence of the Islamic State group, whose violent takeover of Syrian and Iraqi lands five years ago was the reason American forces came in the first place. Trump said the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops who had been partnering with local Kurdish fighters to battle IS in northern Syria are leaving the country. They will remain in the Middle East, he said, to “monitor the situation” and to prevent a revival ofContinue reading

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Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia News, Turkey

Peskov said: “Contacts between the Russian and Turkish authorities are happening. In particular, there was a phone call (between the presidents), and phone conversations between the foreign ministers. There are also communication channels between the (two) militaries.”Continue reading

Bashar al-Assad - Syrian Kurdish YPG - Syria News

Syria’s troops have entered a northeastern town, Syrian state media said on Monday, after Washington announced it was abruptly pulling out its forces, and its former Kurdish allies reached a deal with Damascus to help resist a Turkish attack. The abrupt U.S. withdrawal from the eight-year Syrian war, and the potential return of the Syrian army to the Kurdish-controlled northeast, are major victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Russia and Iran. The U.S. announced on Sunday it would swiftly withdraw its remaining 1,000 troops from northeast Syria, just four days after Turkey launched its cross-border offensive with a green light from President Donald Trump. The Turkish assault has prompted widespread criticism and alarm that it could allow Islamic State fighters in Syria to escape their Kurdish-run prisons and regroup. Trump decided a week ago to move U.S. troops out of the way of the Turkish assault, an act denounced as a stab in the back by the Kurds, thousands of whom died fighting against Islamic State in partnership with Washington since 2014. The Kurds announced on Sunday they were pursuing a new pact instead with Washington’s foes, Assad and his Russian backers. Meanwhile, the United States said it was pulling its troops out of Syria altogether. Ankara says its operation aims to neutralise the Kurdish YPG militia, the main element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which was the key U.S. partner in dismantling the jihadist “caliphate” set up by Islamic State militants in Syria. Ankara viewsContinue reading

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