World: Russia Encroaches on U.S. Stronghold in Syria, Threatening Conflict - - PressFrom - US
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World Russia Encroaches on U.S. Stronghold in Syria, Threatening Conflict

04:46  22 november  2019
04:46  22 november  2019 Source:   usnews.com

US to keep around 600 troops in Syria: Pentagon chief

  US to keep around 600 troops in Syria: Pentagon chief The United States will maintain around 600 troops in Syria, Pentagon chief Mark Esper said Wednesday, despite Donald Trump's desire to end US involvement in what the president calls "endless wars". "We're going to have about 500 to 600-ish troops there, at the end of the day," he said."We're still moving troops out of northeastern Syria," the US defense secretary said onboard a plane as he travelled to Seoul, where he begins a tour of Asia on Thursday.

Russia has chosen to establish a new military base in a part of Syria perilously close to an area that American troops have been charged with defending, heightening the Analysts believe the potential for new fighting in northeast Syria is particularly high as Russia seeks to test the resolve of the U . S . and

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Russia has chosen to establish a new military base in a part of Syria perilously close to an area that American troops have been charged with defending, heightening the risk of a confrontation from either an unintentional skirmish or a deliberate provocation.

a truck driving down a dirt road: ALEPPO, SYRIA - NOVEMBER 18: Russian soldiers, with Russian flag, are seen on armoured vehicle as they enter the base at the Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates, which the US troops' withdrew from, located 90 kilometres east of Aleppo in Aleppo Governorate, Syria on November 18, 2019. (Photo by Bekir Kasim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)© Bekir Kasim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images ALEPPO, SYRIA - NOVEMBER 18: Russian soldiers, with Russian flag, are seen on armoured vehicle as they enter the base at the Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates, which the US troops' withdrew from, located 90 kilometres east of Aleppo in Aleppo Governorate, Syria on November 18, 2019. (Photo by Bekir Kasim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Analysts believe the potential for new fighting in northeast Syria is particularly high as Russia seeks to test the resolve of the U.S. and its allies following President Donald Trump's hasty decision to withdraw from the region last month.

Russia lands forces at former U.S. air base in northern Syria

  Russia lands forces at former U.S. air base in northern Syria Russia lands forces at former U.S. air base in northern SyriaArmed Russian military police were shown in footage aired on Zvezda flying into the Syrian air base in northern Aleppo province near the border with Turkey and fanning out to secure the area.

With Russian and Iranian support, the Syrian government has steadily regained control of territory from opposition forces, including the opposition’ s stronghold in Aleppo in The regime has been accused of using chemical weapons numerous times over the course of the conflict , resulting in international

MOSCOW — Russia on Friday froze a critical agreement on military cooperation with the United States in Syria after an American military strike, warning that the operation would further corrode already dismal relations between Moscow and Washington.

"This is a new phase that the U.S. hasn't dealt with before," says John Dunford, a research assistant at the Institute for the Study of War, which tracks the movement of forces in the region. "As we move into a new phase of war, northeast Syria becomes more and more compacted with different forces."

U.S. troops, under orders from the president to secure oil fields in northeast Syria, last week reportedly began patrolling near the strategically important Syrian town of Qamishli adjacent to the Turkish border, which essentially serves as a gateway into the region.

That area is also home to a new Russian air base established in coordination with Turkey since the U.S. withdrawal, seemingly in an attempt to exert military control of the region. Moscow has touted in recent days that it has used the base for what it calls humanitarian missions to help locals return to their homes but also as a key military hub for its air force to protect new patrols it has deployed. Those troops operate in coordination with forces loyal to the regime of Bashar Assad, at numbers unseen since the start of the conflict.

U.S. Troops Will Die If They Remain in Syria, Bashar Al-Assad Warns

  U.S. Troops Will Die If They Remain in Syria, Bashar Al-Assad Warns President Donald Trump has said a force of Americans will remain in the east of the country to guard the oil fields there.Backed by Russia and Iran, Assad has been able to retain his grip on power through more than eight years of civil war.

The 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria , code-named by Turkey as Operation Peace Spring (Turkish: Barış Pınarı Harekâtı), is an ongoing cross-border military operation conducted by the

President Donald Trump warned Syria and its allies Russia and Iran on Monday against attacking the last major rebel stronghold of Idlib "President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province," Trump wrote on The U . S sees this as an escalation of an already dangerous conflict .

"The smallest form of miscalculation or incident could lead to an escalation that could threaten U.S. forces patrolling in this area," Dunford says.

The sudden influx and convergence of opposing forces in a confined region would be damaging enough for American interests. But Russia's increased air forces and electronic warfare capabilities also threaten to erode the technological dominance that U.S. forces have maintained there in recent years.

According to ISW, the U.S. has conducted patrols at Qamishli as recently as last week and previously had a permanent base there before Trump's sudden directive in early October to withdraw. The president has since revised his orders, saying he wants the U.S. to remain in northeast Syria to "keep the oil," a mission the Pentagon has interpreted as protecting valuable resources from falling into the hands of the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

Russia begins moving captured Ukrainian ships before possible handover

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Syria ’ s President Bashar al-Assad has approved using chlorine gas against the country’ s last major rebel stronghold , U . S . officials said, raising the In a recent discussion about Syria , people familiar with the exchange said, President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if

Russia has warned the US military twice in the last week that its forces, along with Syrian regime units, are prepared to attack in an area where dozens of US troops are located, according to several US defense officials.

The U.S. headquarters overseeing operations in Syria and Iraq declined to say if American forces were operating in that specific area but confirmed a continuing U.S. presence in parts of northeast Syria. A spokesman said the U.S. "will continue to de-conflict military operations with the other forces in the area, to keep all troops safe and avoid miscalculation."

The headquarters, known formally as Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, indicated Thursday that the new Russian presence does not affect operations for its forces or its allies.

"Our mission in Syria has not changed, and is still focused on ensuring the lasting defeat of Daesh," spokesman Army Col. Myles Caggins says in a statement, using a derogatory local acronym for the Islamic State group.

The U.S. continues to work through local allies, a Kurdish-Arab coalition known as the Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF, with the principal goal of eliminating the Islamic State group's access to resources and territory in the region, Caggins says. And he adds that the coalition believes it is currently positioned to avoid confrontation with the Russians or any other foreign power operating in Syria.

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ISTANBUL — Turkey sent tanks, warplanes and special operations forces into northern Syria on Wednesday in its biggest plunge yet into the Syrian conflict , enabling Syrian rebels to take control of an important Islamic State stronghold within hours.

WASHINGTON — The American military strike against Syria threatened Russian -American relations on Friday as the Kremlin denounced President Trump’ s use of force and the Russian military announced that it was suspending an agreement to share information about air operations over the

"All coalition military operations are de-conflicted with other forces operating in the region, through pre-existing channels and interlocutors in order to reduce the risk of interference, miscalculation, or unintended escalation of military operations," Caggins says.

The threats to the U.S., however, are not limited to a confrontation with Russian forces. The undersized and vulnerable American presence in the region relies on the support of its local partners, an arrangement that has come under particular strain following Trump's sudden decisions. And analysts now fear the White House decision to retreat has undermined the trust that local forces placed in their U.S. backers.

"The SDF very much prefers its relationship with the U.S., but at the same time is working to improve its relations with Russia," Dunford says. "Should the U.S. fully withdraw at some point, they could be left basically defenseless if they don't have any relationship with Russia."

The potential shift in allegiance was evident Monday, when Russian forces operating near the city of Kobani faced angry mobs that threw stones and Molotov cocktails at their patrol – a scene similar to, though more violent than, the sudden U.S. pullout. Forces that had previously partnered with the U.S. issued an apology for the locals' behavior afterward.

Russia repatriates 32 children of IS members from Iraq

  Russia repatriates 32 children of IS members from Iraq MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it has repatriated another 32 children of members of the Islamic State group from Iraq. Russia’s state TV on Tuesday showed footage of the children arriving at Zhukovsky airport outside Moscow. It said the children aged between one and nine will undergo extensive medical check-ups before relatives take them home. Russia’s state TV on Tuesday showed footage of the children arriving at Zhukovsky airport outside Moscow. It said the children aged between one and nine will undergo extensive medical check-ups before relatives take them home.

MOSCOW — Russian warplanes began airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, adding an unpredictable new element to a four-year-old war that has already drawn The strikes sharply increase tensions with Russia as U . S . officials dispute Moscow’ s claim that its aircraft targeted the Islamic State, the brutal

US military investigates activists’ claims of deaths in Manbij in what would be deadliest coalition attack on non-combatants in campaign against Isis.

"The subjection of the Russian patrol to this incident is regrettable, and we will take the appropriate action in order not to repeat such incidents," a group identifying itself as the Internal Security Forces said in a statement Tuesday, according to local news outlet Hawar. "We are convinced that the Russian forces deployed in the city of Kobani and the border strip, in accordance with the Sochi Agreement, are a guarantee to bring stability and security in the region."

A top Kurdish commander told CBS News that he, too, felt that the sudden U.S. withdrawal forced him to turn to the Russian military for support.

Retired Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who until his retirement earlier this year served as the top officer for conflicts in the Middle East, warned last month of the threat that Russia and the Syrian regime pose to U.S. allies following Trump's decision to withdraw.

"It's still unclear what sort of punishment the Assad regime will impose on the SDF for partnering with the U.S., and whether any such repercussions will affect the SDF's ability to maintain the camps and detention facilities and continue pressuring ISIS," he wrote in The Atlantic. "To ensure the success of the SDF and whatever elements of the regime end up managing this problem, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS may need to open a limited window of rapprochement with the Syrian regime or the Russians, who will surely use the detention issue as leverage against the West."

Copyright 2019 U.S. News & World Report

Russia loses bid to block new Syria chemical weapons probe .
A bid by Russia to block funding for a new team that will identify culprits behind toxic attacks in Syria failed Thursday with member states at the global chemical watchdog overwhelmingly approving a new budget. Moscow and its allies were trying to block next year's budget for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons -- a move which would potentially have left the entire agency unable to operate -- if it included money for the new Identification and Investigations Team (IIT).

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