WASHINGTON, DC - Bassam Ishak, a Syrian Christian, talked on Friday about a region of war-torn Syria where his fellow worshipers freely practice their religion.
He shows the area on the map to nearly a dozen American evangelicals. The region is mainly Kurdish and it is where the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are in control.
This region would be safer, Bassam said, as a result of the most recent Trump Administration decision that US troops will stay in Syria indefinitely.
James Jeffrey, the recently appointed US special envoy for Syria, announced on Friday that US troops would stay in Syria beyond the defeat of the Islamic State (or ISIS).
“The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year,” said Jeffrey, “That means we are not in a hurry.”
Nearly five months ago, US President Donald Trump stated that US troops would leave Syria quickly. That policy has now been reversed with two new goals set by the Trump Administration for a post-ISIS Syria, according to the Washington Post.
They “include the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria, and establishment of a stable, nonthreatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community.”
This, according to Michael Pregent, a military analyst and senior fellow at Hudson Institute, means a stronger safeguard for SDF’s hard-won gains. Turkey, a NATO ally, sees SDF as terrorists because of its connection to the Kurdistan Workers Party (or PKK).
Pregent says the primary goal for Washington in Syria is now confronting Iran, as the war against ISIS is winding down.