The U.S. is planning to establish a new military force consisting of forces from Arab countries to be deployed to northeastern Syria to contribute to stabilizing the region, a report in The Wall Street Journal said.
According to the report, quoting U.S. officials, U.S. President Donald Trump's new National Security Adviser John Bolton recently called Abbas Kamel, Egypt's acting intelligence chief, "to see if Cairo would contribute to the effort."
The new initiative is reportedly part of the White House's demand from several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), "to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria," which Arab states are now being demanded to support U.S. plans in northern Syria in military terms as well.
The White House recently increased the tone in willingness to withdraw from Syria, as the Trump administration said staying in Syria comes at a high cost for the U.S. and that U.S. allies should take more responsibility in the war-torn country. The new initiative is expected to establish a new force at the absence of U.S. troops that will counter the growing influence of Russia and Iran, the main supporters of the Bashar Assad regime in Syria. The Wall Street Journal report said that some officials have "acknowledged the conversation and noted the administration had reached out to the Gulf states as well."
"Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE have all been approached with respect to financial support and more broadly to contribute," an administration official was quoted by the WSJ as saying. The U.S. officials quoted in the report said the force that is planned be established would be working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is predominantly led by the People's Protection Units (YPG), a force which Washington has military supported in Syria in the fight against Daesh. The YPG is the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, a group listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Turkey and the EU. The U.S. support for the YPG in Syria has long strained Washington's ties with Turkey. Ankara says the support for the YPG is ultimately used against Turkish citizens and the presence of the YPG in northern Syria is constituting a threat to its national security.