The former US special envoy for the international coalition, Brett McGurk, deplores the decision of Donald Trump.
The following ? They have no idea. The United States has no plan for Syrieselon’s former US special envoy for the international anti-jihadist coalition Brett McGurk, as they implement President Donald Trump’s order to withdraw American troops. “There is no plan for what follows,” he said.
Brett McGurk is well placed to know this: he resigned from office in December (along with Defense Minister Jim Mattis) following the announcement of the withdrawal of some 2,000 US military personnel present in Syria. According to him, this withdrawal increases the risks for the American troops on the spot.
He was speaking in an interview with CBS, after a suicide attack on Wednesday killed 19 including four Americans in Manbij, northern Syria, a city controlled by Kurdish fighters backed by US military. The attack was claimed by Daesh, it is the deadliest attack against US troops since their deployment in Syria in 2014.
Senior US officials have since issued contradictory statements about Washington’s intentions, but the Pentagon said the withdrawal has begun, though it is still unclear how long it will take before it ends. “The president has been clear, we are leaving, and that means our troops must have a clear mission: to withdraw, and to withdraw safely,” said Brett McGurk.
Turkey can not replace the United States
But “right now we have no plan,” he added. “It increases the vulnerability of our troops (…) It increases the risks for our men on the ground in Syria and this will open up space for Daesh”. The former envoy also said a “partner” such as Turkey, NATO’s NATO ally, was not able to replace the United States as Ankara assures.
“It’s not realistic,” said Brett McGurk, saying it was difficult to pull out the troops and at the same time look for a formula to replace them with another partner of the anti-jihadist coalition. “It’s not a viable plan,” he insisted. In an article published on January 18 by the Washington Post, Brett McGurk said that Turkey alone does not have the military means for such a role.
Donald Trump had justified his decision to withdraw American troops because Daesh was defeated, which Brett McGurk and other experts question. The former envoy had previously warned that a US withdrawal would strengthen Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and diminish American influence against Russia and Iran.