Coalition general can’t confirm how long U.S. will continue to support Kurds in Syria

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg    


ERBIL - Major General James Jarrard, the Special Operations Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve commander told reporters on Tuesday that the US will continue to support the Syrian Democratic Forces after the military defeat of ISIS, but he claimed to not know for how long.

“How long we will be there supporting the SDF is not for me to answer.” Jarrard said,  “But I will say that we are committed to making sure that the region is stable and secure”

The SDF, Jarrard insists, will transition after the United States ensures that it is capable of providing security through its local civil structures. As for now, the main priority of the United States is to ensure that it can “treat the symptoms that allowed Daesh to take over this area in the first place.”

“And we are committed to supporting the SDF throughout that process,” he said.

Moreover, Jarrard also failed to provide an answer as to whether or not the US would support the SDF if the Syrian government tries to wrest control from the authorities ruling the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

Some Kurds now fear that the US would abandon the Kurds in Syria, just as they did to the Kurds in Iraq, after Iraqi forces took over the disputed territories last month.

However, Ilham Ahmed, the co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council, said in an interview with Buyerpress that with or without U.S support, the Syrian Democratic Council would not hand Raqqa over to the Syrian regime.

“The areas liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces will remain under control and under the protection of these forces,” she said. Resolutely, she contended that “not just northern Syria, but Syria in general, must be a decentralized federal system”.

And insofar as the Assad Government refuses to accept this precondition, “Raqqa will remain for its people and they will decide fate” Ahmed said, underlining the contention that the SDF would not surrender its lands to Damascus.  

Speaking to The Region, Nicholas Heras, Middle East Security Fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington believes that while the U.S. will probably continue to support the Syrian Democratic Forces, it is still unclear how long they will remain supportive on the ground.

“The question is not whether the U.S. will continue supporting the SDF because of course, it will. The question is how long the U.S. intends to stay in Syria to ensure that interim stability has been achieved. That is still an open-ended question, and frankly, the Trump team is still sorting out how to answer it. But for now, there is no U.S. effort in Syria without the SDF,” he concluded.