U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey has asked Germany to send in military personnel to replace U.S. troops to assist the Kurdish led Syrian-Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against terrorists.
“We want ground troops from Germany to partially replace our soldiers,” Jeffrey told German press in Berlin on Friday. Jeffrey was in Berlin seeking a pledge of military and financial support from the German government.
“It is better to force IS back with local Syrian forces,” he said. “But a certain international presence is needed to secure air support, for logistics, training, and technical help.”
“We hope that the Germans will be able to do more,” Jeffrey said. “I am optimistic. Some allies will deploy ground troops, I’m sure of it.”
On Sunday, some German politicians rejected the U.S. call for German troops in Syria. A clear rejection came out of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Merkel’s junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD).
“There will be no German ground troops in Syria with us,” tweeted a member of the interim SPD leadership, Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel. “I don’t see people wanting that among our coalition partners”
Although deputy conservative parliamentary leader Johann Wadephul did say Germany “not reflexively reject” the U.S. call for troops. “Our security, not the Americans’, is being decided in this region,” the parliamentary leader added.
Last December President Trump said he wanted to withdraw the 2,000 U.S. troops that are currently stationed in Syria supporting the SDF. Trump’s announcement sparked much criticism from people in his own cabinet, members of the press, and both Republican and Democratic politicians.
The most common criticism was that the U.S. would be abandoning the Kurds to the mercy of the Syrian government, although the Kurds appealed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and expressed desire for negotiations if the U.S. were to leave. It seems Trump has caved to pressure since the administration recently announced they will be leaving at least 400 troops in Syria.