Syria Drawdown Raises Security Risks for U.S. Troops by Jack Detsch - Al-Monitor
Nearly everywhere US troops go in Syria, the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) provide protection, escorting small units and acting as America’s intelligence collectors on the ground.
“They’re like the eyes and ears for US forces,” providing information on which buildings to target with airstrikes, said Amy Austin Holmes, a fellow with the Wilson Center’s Middle East program who traveled to the country in February.
But as the Donald Trump administration looks to draw down US forces, experts worry about disrupting a fragile balance where US troops trade military power in the form of airstrikes, advisers and ground firepower for protection from Kurdish-dominated local units.
“There’s just not a lot of US forces in northeast Syria. They’ll become even thinner,” said Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at Foreign Policy Research Institute. “The US can’t be out everywhere reaching out touching everything, so they rely on the SDF.”…