Washington ‘Unable to Maintain Military Presence’ in Syria for Long
The United States has recently deployed hundreds of troops to Syria in an apparent bid to assist the looming operation aimed at liberating Raqqa, but Washington will not be able to maintain a permanent military presence in the war-torn country, defense analyst Omar Maaribuni told RIA Novosti.
“Speaking about prospects, I don’t think that Turkey or the United States will be able to maintain their dominance [in northern Syria]. This is due to many factors. The main reason is the resistance which could emerge if American and Turkish forces refuse to withdraw from the region after the war is over,” he said.
In Maaribuni’s opinion, the other reason has to do with Washington’s plans to create a Kurdish canton spanning from the city of Afrin to the Mediterranean. The analyst said that it is impossible to carry out such a project in Syria due to demography and ethnic distribution, which prevent the Kurds from creating a “stable and self-contained” autonomous region on the border with Turkey.
“I think that America’s military presence near Manbij and other cities is temporary. The United States will have to withdraw sooner or later since there are no grounds for them to be there,” the analyst said. “Washington is trying to claim some of the achievement [in the fight against terrorism] as its own at the moment and improve its standing following a series of setbacks that the US has suffered.”
The Obama administration pledged to refrain from sending American boots on the ground in Syria, but later reversed its decision once it became apparent that the US-led coalition was struggling to destroy Daesh. The US has deployed hundreds of special operations troops to the war-torn country to ostensibly train and assist its local allies in their counterterrorism campaigns.
Maaribuni further commented on multilateral efforts aimed at liberating Raqqa, the so-called capital of Daesh’s caliphate. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are the primary force engaged in the operation aimed at pushing the militants out of the city, but the analyst suggested that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) could also make a move towards the brutal group’s key stronghold.
“If the SAA moves towards the city of al-Thawrah after the military operation in Maskanah is over, Damascus-led forces will be able to secure three of its air bases, namely Kuweires, Kashish and al-Thawrah. They will need them for air cover largely provided by attack helicopters. These tactics have been used in the eastern Aleppo province and around Palmyra,” he explained.
Maaribuni suggested that the SAA “could find itself on the verge of the battle for Raqqa” if it has enough aerial support and uses artillery wisely.
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