Allies Decline Request to Stay in Syria After U.S. Troops Withdraw by Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan – Washington Post
As the deadline approaches for the withdrawal of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, America’s closest European allies have turned down a Trump administration request to fill the gap with their own troops, according to U.S. and foreign officials.
Allies have “unanimously” told the United States that they “won’t stay if you pull out,” a senior administration official said. France and Britain are the only other countries with troops on the ground in the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State.
Along with the United States, they have provided training, supplies, logistics and intelligence for the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-dominated group that has done most of the fighting. U.S., French and British forces also operate heavy artillery and conduct the airstrikes that have been decisive against the militants.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said last week that he was mystified by Trump’s policy. On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that “there is no prospect of British forces replacing the Americans” in Syria.
European refusal to stay unless President Trump reverses at least part of his troop withdrawal order is one of several factors that U.S. military officials, lawmakers and senior administration officials have said should make Trump think again…