The commander of U.S.-aligned Syrian forces wants as many as 1,500 U.S. service members to remain in the country to assist with operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Reuters reports that Mazloum Kobani, commander-in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told reporters on Monday that he hopes the U.S. will halt plans to fully withdraw from the country, which President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE announced in December.
“We would like to have air cover, air support and a force on the ground to coordinate with us,” Kobani said at an airbase in Syria, according to Reuters. British and French forces are already in talks to remain in the country, he reportedly added, but stressed that “a partial group of American forces" would ideally remain as well.
“We would like to have air cover, air support and a force on the ground to coordinate with us,” he said, according to the news service.
U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel responded Monday that there are no plans currently to honor the SDF's wishes.
“We certainly understand what they would like us to do, but of course that’s not the path we’re on at this particular point," he reportedly said.
The president declared victory against ISIS in December, announcing that the more than 2,000 U.S. troops in the country would be brought home.
"These victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign," the White House said last year.
"We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added at the time. "The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support, and any means of infiltrating our borders."