Top US normal makes uncommon go to to Syria, says mission to fight Islamic State well worth the threat4 min read
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General A Milley made a uncommon, unannounced go to to Syria the place he mentioned the US deployment to the nation to fight Islamic State continues to be well worth the threat.
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A Milley (Reuters photograph)
By Reuters: The almost eight-year-old US deployment to Syria to fight Islamic State continues to be well worth the threat, the highest US navy officer mentioned on Saturday, after a uncommon, unannounced go to to a dusty base within the nation’s northeast to fulfill US troops.
Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew to Syria to evaluate efforts to stop a resurgence of the militant group and assessment safeguards for American forces in opposition to assaults, together with from drones flown by Iran-backed militia.
While Islamic State is a shadow of the group that dominated over a 3rd of Syria and Iraq in a Caliphate declared in 2014, tons of of fighters are nonetheless camped in desolate areas the place neither the US-led coalition nor the Syrian military, with assist from Russia and Iranian-backed militias, exert full management.
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Thousands of different Islamic State fighters are in detention services guarded by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, America’s key ally within the nation.
American officers say that Islamic State may nonetheless regenerate into a serious menace.
But the mission, which former President Donald Trump almost resulted in 2018 earlier than softening his withdrawal plans, is remnant of the bigger world conflict in opposition to terrorism that had included as soon as the conflict in Afghanistan and a far bigger US navy deployment to Iraq.
Asked by reporters touring with him if he believed the Syria deployment of roughly 900 US troops to Syria was well worth the threat, Milley tied the mission to the safety of the United States and its allies, saying: “If you think that that’s important, then the answer is ‘Yes’.”
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“I happen to think that’s important,” Milley mentioned.
“So I think that an enduring defeat of ISIS and continuing to support our friends and allies in the region … I think those are important tasks that can be done.”
The mission carries threat. Four US troops have been wounded throughout a helicopter raid final month when an Islamic State chief triggered an explosion.
Last month, the US navy shot down an Iranian-made drone in Syria that was trying to conduct reconnaissance on a patrol base in northeastern Syria.
Three drones focused a US base in January in Syria’s Al-Tanf area. The US navy mentioned two of the drones have been shot down whereas the remaining drone hit the compound, injuring two members of the Syrian Free Army forces.
US officers imagine drone and rocket assaults are being directed by Iran-backed militia, a reminder of the advanced geopolitics of Syria the place Syrian President Bashar al-Assad counts on assist from Iran and Russia and sees US troops as occupiers.
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America’s Nato ally Turkey has additionally threatened a broad offensive in Syria that might threaten the US navy’s Syrian Kurdish companions, who Ankara views as terrorists.
US Army Major General Matthew McFarlane, who instructions the US-led coalition in opposition to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, described assaults in opposition to US forces as a “distraction from our main mission.”
McFarlane cited progress in opposition to Islamic State, together with by the discount within the numbers of internally displaced individuals at refugee camps — a pool of weak individuals who may very well be recruited by Islamic State.
The al-Hol camp homes round greater than 50,000 individuals, together with Syrians, Iraqis and different nationals who fled the battle, and McFarlane estimated round 600 infants have been born there yearly.
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Lieutenant Kamal Alsawafy from the Michigan National Guard is without doubt one of the US troopers in Syria serving to present safety for Iraqis leaving al-Hol to be repatriated again to Iraq in protected convoys.
The son of Iraqi refugees who emigrated to the United States, Alsawafy mentioned serving to Iraqi refugees brings him pleasure and described watching individuals at al-Hol cheering as Iraqis departed the camps for higher lives again in Iraq.
“It’s a good feeling,” Alsawafy mentioned.
McFarlane mentioned he believed there would come a time when US companions in Syria may handle on their very own. But there isn’t any publicly recognized goal date to finish that transition.
“Over time, I do envision us transitioning when the conditions are met, where our partners can independently have a sustainable capacity and capability to keep ISIS in check,” he mentioned.
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Mar 5, 2023