Hurdles ahead of US plan to create 65,000-strong militia in Syria

Alwaght – Syria should be rightly called the fountain of the crises in the 21st century. Whenever some rays of hope appear about end of the devastating war in the West Asian country, just from another duct, a new crisis flares up, mainly driven by intervention of foreign powers who seek to influence the developments on the ground.

Russia Today has recently reported that the US intends to bring more militant groups in Syria under its support, raising their number from the current 10,000 to about 65,000 by next year. According to the plan, 35,000 fighters will be tasked with internal security of the areas taken from ISIS terrorist group and 30,000 fighters will be responsible to prevent re-emergence of ISIS in the seized territories across the country. The Pentagon has reportedly asked for $30 million in funding for the program.

The force, according to RT, will be comprised of the “reliable” Syrian opposition armed groups to which the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a force with Kurdish majority and limited Arab fighters, will stand as a backbone. What does Washington seek out of this militant organization? And how will it impact the Syrian future?

The move contradicts remarks of President Donald Trump who has recently said that the US had no intention to stay for a long time in Syria and that after obliterating ISIS the American forces will withdraw.

On January 14, the US announced that it aims to create a 30,000-strong militant force, dubbed Border Security Force, to allegedly guard the north Syrian regions and borders. Washington also set up a series of military bases in northern Syria, where its Kurdish allies are holding large swathes of land and have established an autonomously-ruled local region. Sources familiar with the American steps in Syria also stated that the US has recently held a secret meeting with its allies France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. The measures, the analysts suggest, give every reason to predict that the Americans are paving the way for Syria’s partition. But the scenario will continue to unfold under the ruse of taking measures to prevent ISIS from re-emerging mainly because of strong opposition by parties such as Russia, Iran, and Turkey. The US-led bloc is also concerned about a possible decline to garner backing from the international community which has adequately suffered from the ongoing crisis and its consequences which have proven risky to the global peace and security.

Talal Ali Silo, a spokesman to the SDF before he defected to Turkey in mid-November last year, in a detailed interview with the Anadolu news agency of Turkey has made revelations about the US plan for northern Syria and the way of the establishment of the SDF by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The former spokesman to the US-backed Kurdish force also unveiled an American program to help the remnants of the terrorists with a domination corridor project that will take them to reach the east Mediterranean coasts by northern Syria.

A series of objectives are motivating this project:

– preventing the freed areas in the north from being retaken by the Syrian government

– Forging a trump card to press to oust the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the future negotiations

– Saving the rich gas and oil fields in northern Syria to help run a Kurdish local government which could effectively make a strategic ally to the US which seeks powerful Kurdish instrument to put strains on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

– Destabilizing northern Syria to distract Damascus allies’ attention and so create a margin of safety in Syria’s south and also in the occupied Golan Heights for the Israeli regime.

– Cutting off the corridor linking Iran to Lebanon through Iraq and Syria

– Foiling the Russian-sponsored Sochi and Astana peace initiatives which are meant to keep Syria united and pave the way for the Russian presence which could allow Moscow hold a launching pad for its future regional role in a tough race with Washington to gain weight in West Asia region.

White House has a long and risky way to go before it can realize its split plan. Tremendous obstacle to the Americans’ project is presented by the key actors Russia, Iran, and Turkey that are staunchly guarding against splitting Syria. Perhaps it is right to suggest that the key point of consensus of the trio has been confronting the US plot in northern Syria.

Another challenge is that Kurds are figuring out that Americans are not as trustworthy as they believed. After the Turkish military aggression against the Kurdish-populated Afrin region in Syria’s north on January 20, the Kurds became disappointed with Washington’s inaction in the face of Ankara’s push. Now the Kurds find themselves obliged to make a decision between two choices: Continuing to rely on alliance with the US and risk a potential confrontation with the Syrian army, Turkey, and even Russia in the future; or making compromises to the Central government, fixing their achievements through a deal with Damascus that respects Syria’s territorial cohesion, and so dropping the independence dreams. This, in turn, will set up a new roadblock ahead of the Americans’ project.