On Thursday, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces warned of a “rise” in the death tollRecently in Syria, where ISIS is trying to take advantage of tensions in the Middle East.
General Mazloum Abdi Kobani, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, told reporters in a press conference via Zoom on Thursdayin Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed forces since October, hampering their efforts to prevent ISIS from reemerging.
“We see that ISIS is benefiting from all these attacks, and we have seen an increase in ISIS movements,” he told reporters through a translator.
The Syrian Democratic Forces and the United States are working together in Syria as part of the global coalition to defeat ISIS. The United States has about 900 soldiers in Syria, 2,500 in Iraq, and a few hundred in Jordan as part of that mission. These forces have been attacked at least 168 times by Iranian-backed groups since October 17.
Kobani said that if US forces withdraw, there will be “chaos” and a gap that many actors will want to exploit. He said that American officials assured him that the United States does not plan to withdraw from Syria any time soon.
At the same time, Iraq has begun discussions with the United States about eventually moving from a coalition mission to a bilateral security mission, which could include reducing the number of US forces in Iraq.
The talks have been expected since August, but come at a time when the Iraqi government has expressed concern about retaliatory air strikes launched by the United States inside Iraq.
General Kobani told reporters on Thursday that he is concerned that the American presence in Iraq is linked to the presence in Syria and that withdrawing from Iraq means withdrawing from Syria, which will make the Syrian Democratic Forces more vulnerable.
Thanks for reading CBS News.
Create your free account or log in
For more features.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”