U.S. Considering Staying in Syrian Base to Counter Iran

(Foreign Policy) Lara Seligman - Despite President Trump's December pledge to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria, the U.S. government is considering a plan to keep some troops at the al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria to counter Iranian activity, sources tell Foreign Policy. "Al-Tanf is a critical element in the effort to prevent Iran from establishing a ground line of communications from Iran through Iraq, through Syria, to southern Lebanon in support of Lebanese Hizbullah," said one former senior U.S. military commander. Under the current withdrawal plan, the 200 U.S. troops who have been advising local Syrian fighters out of al-Tanf will be the last to leave the country, officials say. But given the garrison's strategic importance, sources said the U.S. government is considering a plan to keep at least some forces there. The significance is in the 55-km. (34-mile) exclusion zone around al-Tanf that allows U.S. troops to claim self-defense in striking Iranian or other forces moving through the area.

2019-01-28 00:00:00

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