The United States has a backup plan for maintaining their presence in Syria until Iran leaves, which does not necessarily involve the US military “boots on the ground.”
On Thursday, senior official James Jeffrey revealed that roughly 2,000 American troops deployed in Syria could be replaced by the Arab allies and local proxy forces that are backed by the US air power, as the administration begins a new drive for the “removal of all Iranian-commanded forces from the entirety of Syria.”
The reporters on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly asked him if President Donald Trump was making US withdrawal contingent on the removal of Iranian forces, he said, “The president wants us in Syria until that and the other conditions are met. But he added: “It is not necessarily American boots on the ground.”
Adding that no options were definite, he said, “There are many ways that we can be on the ground. We’re certainly on the ground diplomatically.”
“Boots on the ground have the current mission of the enduring defeat of [Daesh],” he said.
On Monday, the man behind idea of keeping presence of the US in Syria until Iran leaves, John Bolton, the White House national security adviser, said, “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias.”
The US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was also asked from the reporters if the specified military mission has shifted to countering Tehran, to which he insisted that it has not.
Mattis stated, “Right now, our troops inside Syria are there for one purpose, and that’s under UN authorization about defeating ISIS.”
In its place, the Trump administration policy for Syria and Iran is considering the Arab allies on the group to counter the Iranian forces.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, Bolton has been asking the Arab nations to field their force in Syria as part of a shift after the military defeats the terror group.
Besides, the US President has also elucidated that he wants countries in the region to come forwards in Syria, and that he will withdraw the American troops “very soon” pending the defeat of the Islamic State.
During a recent visit with the president of Poland at the White House, Trump said, “We have done a tremendous job in Syria and in that region eradicating ISIS, which is why we’re there, and we’re very close to being finished with that job, and then we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re going to do.”
On the other hand, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, told the reporters on Wednesday that Tehran was out to defeat Daesh and would stay there as long as requested by the Syrian regime.
He has turned down the warnings from the Trump administration. Besides, Rouhani has raised questions on the United Nations, asking why it was militarily involved in a country so far from home in the first place.
The reaction from the Unites States is still awaited.