Pentagon officials are reporting that they are hiking the US military “footpriint” as well as “combat power” in southern Syria in recent days, sending more troops into the area with a specific eye toward fighting against the Shi’ite militias that are trying to advance, hoping to connect Syrian government territory to the Iraqi border.
Shi’ite militias who had been involved in the Mosul invasion in Iraq have been making for the Syrian border, looking to help the Shi’ite militias inside Syria with fighting ISIS. The problem is that US-backed rebels are smack in the middle of these two sides, and the US has even targeted the militias inside Syria to some extent to keep them away from the border region, accusing them of “threatening” the rebel territory.
At this point, US military spokesmen are now insisting that they are specifically scaling up their military presence in Syria just to deal with the “threat” posed by pro-government forces inside Syria. Though the US has been hostile toward Syria and sought regime change as a matter of policy, this suggests the Pentagon is moving directly toward a military confrontation.
That would be a huge shift, particularly as President Trump panned the suggestion throughout the 2016 campaign, warning that efforts to remove Assad from power militarily risks open war with Russia. For some reason, that concern appears to have been scrapped by the administration, with the US both determined to impose regime change in Syria, and unconcerned by the obvious consequences.
By Jason Ditz