Earlier, the White House had reiterated President Donald Trump’s promise to pull US troops from Syria as soon as possible to “let the other people take care of it.”
The Trump administration plans to replace American troops with Arab forces in Syria to stabilize the situation in the northeastern part of the country, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing American officials. According to the media outlet’s sources, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton recently held a phone conversation with Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if Cairo was willing to contribute to the implementation of the plan.
Prior to the phone call to Egypt, the United States had reportedly requested Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates allocate billions of dollars to restore the northeastern part of Syria. The unnamed officials told the Wall Street Journal that Washington wanted Arab nations to send their servicemen to the area.
The United States has elaborated this plan with an eye to preventing the emergence of a “security vacuum” in Syria, which would allow Daesh* to return to the region. However, assembling new forces seems challenging to senior fellow at the Middle East Institute Charles Lister, who thinks that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE are involved militarily in Yemen, and Egypt would be reluctant to defend territory that wasn’t controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.”
Wall Street Journal’s article follows another report about the US establishing a new military base in the war-torn country at an oilfield in Deir ez-Zor – which contradicts President Trump’s promise to leave Syria “very soon.”
Earlier this week, the White House had stated that the US “mission had not changed,”as President Trump still wanted American troops to “come home as quickly as possible,” despite his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron’s claims that he had convinced Trump to maintain a US presence in Syria for a longer term.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS, a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries