Britain and France to Send Additional Troops to Syria
Experts are warning that ISIS insurgents may return stronger than before once the United States withdraws from the region, and without commitment by other U.S. allies to fill in the gap.
The U.S.-based Foreign Policy magazine said on Tuesday that both France and Britain have decided to send additional forces to Syria, to fill the gap left by the U.S. partial withdrawal from Syrian territories mandated by President Donald Trump in December 2018. However, neither a time-frame nor the number of the additional troops has been set yet.
The expected increase is estimated at 10% to 15% of the current troop levels of both U.S.-allied countries – both allies currently have about 300 to 500 soldiers each.
On Monday, Germany rejected a U.S. request to send ground troops to Syria. Germany now furnishes reconnaissance jets, a refueling aircraft and other noncombat military assistance to the fight the Islamic State.
“Some experts have recently warned that the Islamic State’s insurgents may return stronger than before, once the U.S. completely withdraws from the region without commitment by other U.S. allies to fill in the gap,” Foreign Policy wrote.
Melissa Dalton, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Foreign Policy that despite gains won with the U.S. and allied help, the Islamic State will “over time be able to prey upon local grievances and reconstitute and be able to take territory.”
Both France and Britain operate secretly across Syria, mainly in areas that are under the control of the opposition’s Democratic Forces of Syria, in the north and east of the country.
The U.S. also wants its allies to contribute more financially to stabilization efforts and humanitarian efforts in the region. The conditions at refugee camps like the Rukban refugee camp, where the United Nations says about 45,000 people are housed, are grim.
Since 2011 the Arab Republic of Syria, home to nearly 19 million residents, has endured a civil war, sparked by mass protests demanding social and economic reforms.
The war has resulted in the deaths or injuries of hundreds of thousands, while millions more have been displaced. In recent years Russia became a key ally for the Syrian regime, intervening in the war and helping Syria defeat the armed opposition groups.