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US calls on Germany to send troops to Syria

July 8, 2019 at 1:18 am

The United States (US) yesterday called on Germany to send ground troops to northern Syria as a replacement for the American forces.

“We [US] want ground troops from Germany to partly replace our soldiers” as part of the anti-Daesh coalition, US’ special Syria representative, James Jeffrey, told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag, adding that the American soldiers would not necessarily be required to “engage directly in fighting with the Islamic State militants.”

Jeffrey pointed out that his country was expecting an answer from Berlin “this month.”

The German troops, he explained, would help in “maintaining stability in northern Syria,” adding that “international presence is needed to secure air support, for logistics, training, and technical help.”

“We are looking for volunteers who want to take part here [Syria] and among other coalition partners,” the US official said.

Jeffrey was in Berlin on Friday in an official visit “to request military and financial support from the German government in Syria.”

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In December, the US President Donald Trump declared victory against Daesh and announced the withdrawal of all 2,000 American troops from Syria. However, a small number of forces have remained in northeastern Syria, an area that is not controlled by the Bashar Al-Assad-led regime.

The US request comes after Trump has repeatedly urged Germany to increase its defence spending, calling for “delinquent” over Berlin’s contributions to NATO’s budget.

Washington’s demand is said to likely to be opposed by the Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, dubbed “Social Democrats.”

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.