U.S. forces have no plans to leave Northern Syria following the defeat of ISIS and instead plans to stay in the region for decades to come, it has emerged.
The news comes as SDF spokesperson Talal Silo said that the United States would take part in military, economic and political agreements in Kurdish Syria following the defeat of the ISIS extremist group.
He told Reuters. “They have a strategy policy for decades to come. There will be military, economic and political agreements in the long term between the leadership of the northern areas [of Syria] ... and the U.S. administration.”
SDF forces are fighting alongside their U.S. counterparts in the battle to defeat ISIS in Northern Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said that 21 children were among at least 59 civilians killed since Monday in the airstrikes targeting the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa.
“The worst place probably today in Syria is the part of Raqqa that is still held by the so-called Islamic State [Daesh],” the U.N.’s humanitarian point man for Syria, Jan Egeland, told reporters in Geneva.
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Despite civilian casualties, the U.S. military looks set to continue expanding its presence in the region and SDF sources claim President Trump’s troops have already established 7 military bases on Kurdish soil including a major base near Kobani.
Backed by the U.S.-led coalition, the SDF launched an operation to capture Raqqa province from ISIS last year, and in June the alliance broke into Raqqa city for the first time.
Coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon, also appeared to back a long-term U.S. military presence in the Middle East, adding that there is “still a lot of fighting to do, even after ISIS has been defeated in Raqqa.”
He later added that the terror group remained in strongholds along the Euphrates River valley including Deir al-Zor province southeast of Raqqa.
However, Silo believes that U.S. support comes at a price and that the United States will use their position to build even more American military facilities in the region.
“The Americans have strategic interests here after the end of Daesh,” Silo said.
“They [recently] referred to the possibility of securing an area to prepare for a military airport. These are the beginnings – they’re not giving support just to leave. America is not providing all this support for free,” he added.