State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on February 20th that Washington supported united Syria with current borders. “We’re not changing it, we’re not supporting the changing or the addition of any kind of autonomous region,” she added.
The statement, however, runs counter to the DoD actions, as its officials must have their own plans for Northern Syria. As early as late last year Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon confirmed the U.S. Air Force was going to stay in Syria as long as it would have to support the local Kurds and Syrian opposition partners as well as to prevent an ISIS recovery.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis even believes the U.S. soldiers have every reason to be in Syria which is justified by a Security Council resolution. However, James Mattis seems the only one to have ever seen the resolution since the Syrian government declared the U.S. military presence in the country as illegal and continually called Washington to withdraw its forces.
Official reports say there are as many as 2,000 U.S. soldiers in Syria now. They have repeatedly launched airstrikes on the Syrian army positions, allegedly by mistake. Besides, the U.S. personnel train as instructors both Syrian opposition fighters and Kurdish militia at its military bases.
Apart from it, Washington was ready to set up a professional 30,000-strong Kurdish army in Northern Syria, as if Pentagon intended to gain a foothold and establish there an autonomous Kurdish quasi-state. But it has not fulfilled its promise i.e. Kurdish independence yet despite the fact ISIS is said to be defeated.
Many Syrian experts think Washington has different reasons to settle down in Syria, e.g. the U.S. is believed to keep on confronting the official government in Damascus and its allies Iran and Russia as well as protecting its own geopolitical interests in the region, in particular, overall control over oil and gas fields won by the Kurds back from ISIS.
Obviously, the U.S. desires to stay in the sovereign state of Syria for quite a long time under any pretext. For its part, the Kurdish militia should consider any further cooperation with Washington, which has exploited them many times, giving nothing in return. Maybe it’s high time to start negotiations with the Syrian government and kick out the U.S. troops occupying the Kurdish regions and Eastern Syria?