U.S. urges allies to deploy troops in Syria

US military officials will press US allies in Europe to allocate hundreds of troops to create a buffer zone on the Syrian side of that country's border with Turkey as most US troops withdraw there, the Washington Post reported.

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The newspaper said US Senator Lindsey Graham made clear what he called a "post-caliphate strategy" and the US quest to deploy European troops in northeastern Syria during public statements at the Munich Security Conference.

The Munich Conference is an annual gathering of officials, legislators, journalists and security professionals from around the world.

According to the American newspaper, Graham told most of the European audience that he discussed the plan with Trump on a large scale. He said that based on these talks, US legislators and officials will use their bilateral meetings at the conference to ask European allies to participate.

Graham said officials told him that the Pentagon was already working on the outline of the safe-haven plan, even before any other troop commitment.

Graham said: "The idea is that European countries will provide about 1,500 troops. If this happens, Trump will be ready to keep about 200 troops in northeastern Syria, to provide support such as intelligence, command and control."

There is no evidence that the new mission will be under the supervision and knowledge of NATO, but certain NATO member states will be specifically asked to contribute troops, including Britain, France and Germany.

According to the Washington Post, legislators and US officials are conveying this idea to European leaders at weekend meetings. They know it will be a difficult task at a time when the Trump administration is fighting European allies over Iran, trade and burden-sharing. They also know that Trump is not popular in Europe.

But this is the only way the United States has left to maintain some influence and presence in northeastern Syria. Graham hopes that European leaders will see an opportunity to help ease Trump's withdrawal as a way to protect their security.

"The president can be an assistant, but even many of you can help," Graham admitted at the end of his speech.

A.H

ANHA


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