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US-led coalition to boost size of Syrian partner forces

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by US special forces, holds their flag at the iconic Al-Naim square in Raqa on 17 October, 2017 [BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images]
A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by US special forces, holds their flag at the iconic Al-Naim square in Raqa on 17 October, 2017 [BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images]

The US-led coalition is planning to increase the overall size of its Syrian partner forces by 10% to prevent the resurgence of Daesh in previously cleared areas of northeastern Syria, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general report released Tuesday, Anadolu reports.

The partial withdrawal of US troops has “decreased the support available” for the Syrian partner forces “at a time when their forces need more training and equipping” to respond to Daesh, the report said.

It noted that Daesh has established “resurgent cells” in areas controlled by Syrian partner forces.

“While Syrian forces carried out clearance operations in northeastern Syria to eliminate these cells, CJTF-OIR reported that US-backed Syrian forces also have limited capacity to hold liberated areas,” it said, referring to the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

Read: Syria army resumes military operations against opposition forces in northwest Syria

Underlining that the current strength of the main partner forces in the area is around 100,000, the report said CJTF-OIR’s desired strength is 110,000, consisting of 30,000 Syrian Democratic Forces, 45,000 Provincial Internal Security Forces and 35,000 Internal Security Forces.

US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria in December, claiming they had defeated Daesh, their only reason for intervening in the country.

Amid pushback from within his administration and from key US lawmakers, Trump later signalled a “slow and highly coordinated pullout” from the war-torn country.

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