The United States still has troops in Syria, even though the last ISIS stronghold was recaptured more than a year ago. So why are they still there? There are a few reasons.
The US wants to ensure that Russia doesn’t take advantage of the situation in Syria to establish a long-term foothold in the Middle East. And so far, it seems to be working. Russia has been relatively restrained in its actions in Syria, and it’s clear that they don’t want to risk a confrontation with the US.
At the same time, the US presence in Syria provides a certain degree of stability in an otherwise volatile region.
What is The Current Situation in Syria?
The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing since 2011, with the Assad regime fighting against various rebel groups. In 2015, Russia intervened on behalf of the Assad regime, and the conflict has since become a proxy war between the US and Russia.
In 2018, Former President Trump announced that he was withdrawing US troops from Syria, but this has not yet happened.
As of 2020, there were an estimated 500-900 US troops in Syria. They are primarily stationed in the northeastern part of the country, working with Kurdish forces to combat ISIS. There is also a small US presence in the southern part of Syria, near the border with Jordan and Israel. The US has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria since 2014.
Why did the US get involved in Syria?
The United States has been involved in Syria since the early days of the Syrian Civil War.
In 2011, the US began providing financial and military support to rebel groups fighting against the Syrian government.
In 2012, the US began supplying weapons to these groups.
In 2013, the US began flying drones over Syria and conducting airstrikes against Syrian government targets.
In 2014, the US began sending troops to Syria to train and advise rebel groups.
What are the US Goals in Syria?
The US goals in Syria are to:
- Remove all Syrian forces from Israel’s Golan Heights
- Destroy Syria’s chemical and biological weapons stockpiles
- Disarm Syria of its remaining Scud missiles
- Prevent Syria from being used as a base for terrorist operations against the US or its allies
- Promote a political settlement in Syria that ends the country’s civil war and leads to a stable, democratic government
How Has the US Involvement in Syria Changed Overtime?
The United States has been involved in Syria since the early days of the Syrian Civil War when it began providing small-scale military assistance to select rebel groups fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Most of these troops were sent to support existing anti-ISIS operations; however, a small number were also used to set up new bases in eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq.
In late 2018, Trump administration officials announced they planned to withdraw all US forces from Syria. This withdrawal was initially slated to be completed within 60 days; however, it was subsequently delayed due to ongoing concerns about the security situation in Syria and the possibility of a resurgence of ISIS. As of now, there are still several thousand US troops stationed in Syria.