America's inconsistent policy in Syria is confusing its allies in the fight against IS.

While U.S. government officials sought to persuade their allies that Washington maintained its commitment to the same fight against the Islamic State (IS) rebels in Syria, they encountered a significant obstacle. : The most inconsistent post-policy decisions of President Donald Trump.


US President Donald Trump at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Erdogan at the White House on November 13 Photo: Reuters

At a high-level meeting in the U.S. Department of State scheduled to take place today, US diplomats will seek to persuade representatives of 35 countries and international organizations to continue to stick with the campaign against ISIS even. when the group's supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed last month.

But the ambiguity of the Trump administration's policy in northeast Syria has discouraged many allies, some diplomats said, and added that they doubted any deal reached would likely be US system reversed.

Trump yesterday announced at the White House ahead of meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that hundreds of US troops will still be present in Syria, but only to protect the oil fields.

While just a day ago, James F. Jeffrey, the diplomat in charge of overseeing the Syrian issue, said the main goal of the troops being maintained in relatively small numbers in northeastern Syria was to fight ISIS, while protecting oil fields is just a "secondary mission". "US forces in northeastern Syria are tasked with countering terrorism, especially to ensure defeat IS forever," Jeffrey said.

This is just one of a series of evidence demonstrating the policy disagreement within the Trump administration since the October 6 telephone conversation between the US President and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan.

After the call, Trump ordered the withdrawal of all US troops from Syria, surprising foreign advisers and allies. Three days later, Turkey launched an offensive campaign against Kurdish-controlled territories in Syria. Turkey has long regarded the Kurdish militia as terrorists, but it acts as America's closest ally on the battlefield against ISIS.

After fierce clashes between the Kurdish militia and the Turkish army, Trump suddenly changed his mind, allowing less than 1,000 US troops in Syria. However, with uncertainty about the task's presence and time in Syria, the US allies are wondering, how to support Washington in the war.


IS fighters are held in a Kurdish-controlled camp in northeastern Syria Photo: NYTimes.

Europe's efforts to provide humanitarian aid, resettlement assistance and mine clearance in Syria are largely delayed until the United States can ensure regional safety. In a statement yesterday, the French Foreign Ministry noted that the northeast of Syria had just been freed from ISIS for seven months and appealed against "any unilateral initiative that could undermine this achievement".

"It is clear that President Trump decided to retain the military in Syria on the basis of his only interest in oil," said Charles R. Lister, senior expert at the Middle East Institute. "But the larger goal that the US government aims to try to use it as an excuse to gradually create a more meaningful, less ambiguous and sustainable strategy, focusing on the counterterrorism mission, at the same time create more advantages to negotiate with Damascus ".

After Baghdadi was defeated by U.S. special forces, senior State Department and Pentagon officials sought ways to explain to allies that U.S. forces present in Syria were only to defeat IS and coordinate with IS. Kurdish ally, not because of protecting the oil field.

On November 10, General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also stressed that Washington would maintain about 600 to 700 troops in northern Syria to carry out its counterterrorism mission.

"There are still IS fighters in the area and if there is no pressure and focus on them, IS will be able to rise," he said. "US forces may be small, but the goal remains the same, to defeat IS forever."

But security experts warn that the U.S. maintains a military presence in northeastern Syria, potentially creating another major conflict between the Kurds and the Turkish army and proxies.

"You cannot have a local partner acting as the only force against ISIS and at the same time, you will not be able to protect them from being attacked by a country you call an ally," Nicholas A. Heras, a researcher at the New American Security Center, commented.