For days now, despite Turkish forces jeopardizing a fragile US-brokered cease-fire in northern Syria, President Donald Trump has insisted that American forces have secured oil fields liberated from the Islamic State (IS).
But Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the US administration is considering leaving a residual force of 200 American troops in Syria to keep the Bashar al-Assad regime and Russia away from the country’s contested rigs and derricks. This plan is likely to face pushback from within the administration and among allies, as well as lead to potential legal challenges from Congress, current and former American officials told Al-Monitor.
As first reported by The New York Times, Esper, traveling in the Middle East on Monday, said that under the current plan, some US forces would stay behind in Syria to “deny access to those oil fields by [IS] and others who may benefit.”
Read the full story and more in Al-Monitor.