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US to ask allies to send 'hundreds of troops' to Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US flag flutters on a military vehicle in Manbij countryside, Syria, May 12, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Senator Lindsey Graham says the US is looking for its allies to deploy hundreds of troops to Syria following the withdrawal of American soldiers from the Arab country.

Speaking on a panel discussion at the 2019 Munich Security Conference on Friday, Graham announced that US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford would call on Washington's partners during the event to send forces to Syria.

Dunford, he said, “would be coming to some of you in this room, and he will be asking for a contribution of forces to stabilize the region, post destruction of the caliphate,” established by the Daesh terrorist group.

The US senator said he had discussed the Syria plan with President Donald Trump and General Joseph Votel, the head of US Central Command.

US Senator Lindsey Graham attends a panel discussion in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof at the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, February 15, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

"I'm hoping that President Trump will be coming to some of you and asking for your help and you will say yes. And in return, the capability that we have that is unique to the United States will still be in the fight in Syria," Graham said.

Trump ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 American forces from Syria in December 2018 amid preparations by Turkey to launch an operation against US-backed Kurdish militants in northern Syria.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen criticized the idea that European forces would stay in Syria after the US exit, saying the alleged anti-Daesh mission should be "in together, out together."

Additionally, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the US approach in northeastern as a "mystery."

"It is totally out of the question to have French troops on the ground without the Americans there. It's just 'no'," a French government source said.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said the US had told coalition partners that its forces would leave Syria in "weeks rather than months."

A senior US defense official, however, pointed out that none of Washington's allies had made any "specific commitment ... either whether they would stay or [whether] they would leave when we have left."

Despite "a tremendous desire to have a security arrangement or mechanism," no concrete solution has been found to "resolve the security vacuum," he added.

The US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. 

The aerial assaults have failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism, but destroyed much of Syria's infrastructure and left many civilian casualties.

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