Washington has reached out to least 21 of its allies for support to maintain a military presence in northeastern Syria, but nearly half so far have declined and others have agreed to provide only nominal support, the Wall Street Journal reported on April 23, citing U.S. and foreign officials.
According to the officials, Trump administration held two rounds of meetings to ask its allies to support its Syria plan. The first round was held in January in the capitals of 7 European allies, while the second round was held in the spring and covered 14 other countries.
“The US has asked those allies to provide support in areas where the US falls short, including air logistics, training, and financial support for stabilization efforts … Some countries have declined to participate in the military campaign but have pledged humanitarian assistance and stabilization assistance,” the New York-based newspaper said.
Last December President Donald Trump made a decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria. The decision provoked much criticism from European countries, which are apparently not ready to risk sending their own soldiers to the war-torn country.
WSJ said that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were both involved in the efforts to mass support for the new U.S. plan.
“We continue to consult with multiple partners and allies to identify areas where they might best contribute to the enduring defeat of ISIS and remain confident that coalition nations will provide the necessary support in Syria,” Dunford’s spokesman, Col. Patrick Ryder, told the newspaper.
Despite facing much rejection from their allies, U.S. officials told WJS they are convinced that enough allies will support the new plan for Syria.
Earlier this month, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Kathryn Wheelbarger, told the Washington Times that the U.S. is working to maintain its “international coalition” in order to prevent ISIS from reemerging in Syria and Iraq.
“We expect the threat to evolve, [and] the importance of the coalition is our priority,” Wheelbarger said in the interview that was released on April 9.
Washington’s plan to keep troops in Syria for the long terms is not going as planned. However, Trump’s administration is apparently determined to achieve this goal, even that it completely contradicts with the withdrawal decision.