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US’ ‘New Role’ in Syria ‘Reflects the Limits of Its Capacity’

US’ ‘New Role’ in Syria ‘Reflects the Limits of Its Capacity’

US’ ‘New Role’ in Syria ‘Reflects the Limits of Its Capacity’
March 10
17:26 2017

On Monday, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis announced that the US military has “carved out a new role in Syria” with small numbers of troops positioned not with an offensive or defensive role, but to “reassure and deter.” Commenting on the announcement, Russian media suggested that it just “reflects the limits of the US capacity.”

“The US military has carved out a new role in Syria, with small numbers of troops now positioned to prevent an escalation of violence among an array of militias and other forces that have converged on an increasingly complex battlefield,” the Defense News website reported on Monday in the follow up to the announcement of Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.

Davis said that what the US is after in Syria, is “neither an offensive nor defensive role, but a mission designed to keep a lid on tensions that risk creating new levels of violence in northern Syria.”

He further elaborated that non numerous US troops are now on the western outskirts of Manbij to “reassure and deter.”

The spokesman said the new US presence is meant in part to “reassure that ISIS (Daesh) has been driven from Manbij.”

“To deter” was apparently addressed to various groups fighting on the ground, including Turkish armed forces, their allies the Free Syrian Army, Syrian Kurdish fighters and Syrian government forces and to prevent an escalation of violence between them.

Commenting on the announcement, Russia’s online newspaper Vzglyad noted that the situation around two problem-plagued territories in the north of Syria, near al-Bab and Kurdish Manbij, “long requires military-diplomatic solutions and negotiations as it threatens to grow into an uncontrolled spiral of military activities under the principle “all against all.”

Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, it says, while largely unsuccessful, came as a catalyst of the exacerbation. It was aimed at creating a “buffer zone” for Turkey in Syrian Kurdistan. However in practice, the website notes, the Turks simply wanted to occupy considerable Syrian territory for an indefinite duration and set-up there separate Turkic-speaking authorities, squeezing out Kurdish units and, preferably, all of the Kurds.

Damascus, it says, is absolutely not ready to give up part of its sovereignty for the sake of some “mythical interests” of its active northern neighbor.

Hence there was a “race towards al-Bab” with both the Turkish and Syrian armies attempting to reach the city through Daesh and other armed groups fighting on the ground.

“It ended in a draw, however with a slight advantage to the Syrians, which resulted in attempts by the Turkish special forces to squeeze the Syrian government army from already taken positions,” the outlet says, adding that there is now every chance for the situation to become a large-scale catastrophe.


Manbij, it says, is set up as a final stop for the Turks. The city is also a lynchpin for the Kurds.

“At the moment, Manbij is as far away for the Turks as China, however someone should have by now attempted to prevent a possible clash between these incompatible forces – Turks, Syrians and Kurds – who want to carve out as much sovereignty as they are able to bear, claiming that they have deserved it through their fight against the jihadists,” the newspaper says.

However, the website further notes, a couple of dozen US commandos won’t change the situation on the battlefield. The US’ “half-company,” it suggests, is an argument for the Turks but not for the jihadists or Turkey’s so-called allies, former jihadists who have just rebranded themselves.

Hence, it says, the US’ “new role” in the region reflects the real power balance there: Americans are able only to “render moral support,” and only to a small part of the Turkish establishment, thus their military presence will be limited to “strictly proportioned administratively-populist measures.”

Neither Moscow nor Washington, the outlet adds, have any intention of allowing Ankara to govern the captured lands, thus creating a precedent of annexation of part of the Syrian territory and legitimization of Turkish expansion.

Meanwhile, these developments unfold against the recent meeting of Russian, Turkish and US military chiefs in Antalya.


On March 7, Turkey’s military chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, was hosting a meeting with the heads of the US and Russian armed forces in the southern Turkish province of Antalya.

It was attended by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford Jr., Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Valery Gerasimov and Turkey’s military chief of staff General Hulusi Akar.

Turkish political analyst, an expert in international relations and international law Mesut Hakkı Çaşın earlier pointed out to Sputnik Turkiye that “there is an opinion that the three military chiefs met in Antalya to prevent any possible clash on the ground in Manbij.”

The meeting took place against very important developments on the Syrian territory. The successful advance of the Syrian government forces towards Manbij came as a big surprise. There is an opinion that Russia, while acting as an intermediary in transferring parts of Manbij territories to the Syrian government forces, has prevented clashes between Turkey and the US,” he told reporters.

There is still a question, he said, whether there was any agreement between Russia and US.

The further announcement of the US military command that they “have been informed by the Russian side” suggests that there has been an agreement between Russia and the US, he therefore concluded.

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Edward Bokhua

Edward Bokhua

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