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US Congress rejects occupation troop pullout from Syria

A US soldier looks on while an AH-64 Apache assault helicopter flies above during a patrol by the Suwaydiyah oil fields in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, on February 13, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

The US House of Representatives has rejected a proposed resolution seeking the withdrawal of US occupation troops from Syria.

The GOP-sponsored bill failed to pass on Thursday with 103 votes in favor and 321 votes against it.

The Syria War Powers resolution was introduced by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz last week following a recent incident in which four American soldiers were injured during a raid in the Arab country.

The bill required President Joe Biden to bring US forces home within 180 days unless Congress votes to authorize a longer deployment.

Following the ill-fated vote, Gaetz slammed US lawmakers, saying the Congress never authorized military action in Syria to begin with.

“There is no role for the United States of America in Syria. We are not a Middle Eastern power. We have tried to build a democracy out of sand, blood, and Arab militias,” he said.

“Time and again, the work we do does not reduce chaos. Oftentimes, it causes chaos – the very chaos that then subsequently leads to terrorism. While today’s vote may have failed, my fight to end forever wars and bring our troops home has only just begun,” he added.

Gaetz further noted that several prior Inspector General Reports have concluded that a resurgence of Daesh in Syria is “unlikely,” instead claiming that the American presence has served as a “recruiting tool” for the terrorist group.   

Democrat Gregory Meeks argued that while he does not support an “indefinite” deployment, a withdrawal would be “premature.” 

By rejecting the resolution, Washington has opted to continue the years-long military occupation despite repeated objections from the Syrian government.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria for years, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s rich mineral resources and to destabilize the country.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

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