The United States and its Syrian Kurdish allies took control of wide swathes of eastern Syria in 2017. The area contains the vast majority of the country’s oil and gas reserves, as well as major food-producing regions. Damascus has repeatedly demanded that all foreign forces not explicitly invited into the country by the Syrian government get out.
“In Syria, we’re supporting Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS. That’s been quite successful, and that’s something that we’ll continue,” the official added, referring to the SDF – a collection of mostly-Syrian Kurdish militias which have de-facto administrative control over much of eastern Syria for several years.
The administration official said there are about 900 troops, including Green Beret special forces, in Syria at the moment.
Last week, the Russian military reported that areas of eastern Syria under the control of the US-led coalition have witnessed a spike in activity by radical groups. These groups are said to…