US Allies Demand Troops Stay in North Syria

Tuesday, 19 February, 2019 - 12:15
Washington- Elie Youssef

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) did not respond directly to statements by Army Lieutenant General Paul LaCamera, who is the commander of the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and his warnings against the Kurds’ heading towards Damascus and Moscow.

A commander in the SDF called on Monday for part of US troops to remain in Syria and help fight ISIS. His comments followed talks with Head of US Central Command Army General Joseph Votel, who visited Kurdish-controlled areas accompanied by senior US military commanders and discussed the latest developments on how to withdraw US troops from the region and coordinate the move with Kurds.

Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) serve as US-led SDF’s backbone northeast Syria.

LaCamera has earlier stated that the United States will have to sever its military assistance to the SDF if the fighters partner with Head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad or Russia.

He warned that US law prohibits cooperation with Russia as well as Assad’s military.

Head of Foreign Relations Commission in the Kurdish-led area Abdulkarim Omar told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Kurds haven't received any official stance from the United States, noting that this subject needs several clarifications before being openly discussed.

He said it is very complicated and linked to various factors, which have to do with regional and international contacts to arrange the post-US withdrawal from Syria.

Omar added that Kurds will not go to Damascus and Moscow if their participation in any future talks and in the constitutional committee to draft a constitutional reform were not guaranteed, stressing the recognition of their own privacy as a condition.

Head of Germany-based Kurdish Center for Studies (KCS) Nawaf Khalil, for his part, refused these warnings.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Kurds demand that the Americans identify and clarify their options and demystify the process of their withdrawal from northern Syria.

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