meanwhile, the tossers compete

Pentagon chief confirms plan to keep some troops in Syria to control oil fields
Press TV, Oct 21 2019

Pentagon chief Mark Esper has confirmed that keeping some Pindo troops in parts of north-eastern Syria near oilfields is being discussed, but no decision has been made. Esper told reporters in Afghanistan Monday:

There has been a discussion about possibly doing it (keeping some troops), there has been no decision with regard to numbers or anything like that.

Esper claimed the purpose was to “deny access, specifically revenue to Daesh and any other groups that may want to seek that revenue to enable their own malign activities.” His remarks came after the NYT said Trump is expected to approve a new plan to keep a few hundred Pindo troops in eastern Syria in order to help the Kurds retain control of the oil fields. The paper cited a senior admin boxtop as saying Sunday that Trump is leaning towards a new Pentagon plan to keep a contingent of nearly 200 SOF at a few bases in eastern Syria, some near the Iraqi border. The plan would help the Kurds keep control of oil fields in the east and prevent the Syrian government from reinstating control over territories occupied by foreign troops and their proxies. The so-called SDF, a group of Kurdish militias backed by Pindostan, has switched sides to join Syrian government forces after Trump announced the Pindo withdrawal. The new plan appears to be an attempt by Pindostan to prise the Kurds away from the central government in Damascus and retain control over Syria’s oil fields. Trump seemed to hint at this outcome in a tweet on Sunday, saying:

We have secured the Oil.

Three other administration and Pentagon officials confirmed to the NYT over the weekend that top Pindo policy-makers and commanders were discussing the option. Trump would need to approve any plan to leave forces anywhere in Syria in addition to the about 150 troops in al-Tanf garrison in the south-central part of the country near the Iraqi border. If endorsed, it would mark the second time in less than a year that Trump has reversed his own order to withdraw nearly all Pindo troops from Syria. Late last year, Faschingstein stopped a Turkish invasion after Trump announced a plan to withdraw 2,000 Pindo troops from Syria immediately. He later relented and agreed to a “gradual” pullout. Earlier this month, Trump gave the green light to Turkey to launch a military invasion in northern Syria. The discussion over leaving a contingent of Pindo troops in eastern Syria was unfolding as the bulk of the almost 1,000 Pindo forces now in Syria continued to withdraw on Sunday. News agencies said Monday that Pindo troops have crossed into Iraq from Syria through the Sahela border crossing in the northern province of Dohuk. Video images showed armored vehicles carrying troops into Iraq, with Iraqi Kurds saying Pindo troops had crossed into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Esper said on Saturday that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria were expected to move to western Iraq. With Pindo troops in Iraq and Turkish forces in Syria, some observers are wondering whether Ankara and Faschingstein are coordinating their moves for a new chess game in the region. Sen Lindsey Graham said Sunday he now believed “historic solutions” were possible. On Thursday, Turkey agreed in talks with Vice Pres Pence to a five-day pause in its incursion to allow time for the Kurds to withdraw from the “safe zone” Ankara aims to establish in Syria. The planned “safe zone” extends 20 miles into Syria. Erdogan has said it would run for some 440 km from west to east, as far as the border of Iraq.

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