10:57 GMT12 July 2020
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    US National Security Advisor John Bolton's recently announced conditions for the removal of American troops from Syria strongly suggest that servicemembers aren't going to be leaving the war-torn country anytime soon, investigative journalist Rick Sterling told Sputnik.

    During a weekend visit to Israel, Bolton told reporters on Sunday that US forces will remain in Syria until Daesh forces are completely defeated and until Turkey offers up guarantees that it will not attack US-backed, Kurdish forces of the YPG.

    "We don't think the Turks ought to undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States, at a minimum so they don't endanger our troops," Bolton said ahead of his upcoming visit to Turkey.

    Bolton's remarks come after US President Donald Trump announced in December of 2018 that troops would be leaving their Syrian posts on account of Daesh forces having been defeated. In a following video, Trump said, "They're all coming back, and they're coming back now."

    The unexpected move rattled allies, and former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis submitted his resignation shortly after.

    However, the chances of US troops actually leaving are pretty slim, Sterling said.

    ​"They are not leaving Syria right now, and the promise for them to leave is getting walked back, and it gets vaguer and vaguer," Sterling told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Monday.

    "First it was 30 days, then it was four months, and now with these new conditions that Bolton has put on, it looks like it's never going to happen if Bolton and company have their way."

    Expanding on Sterling's views, fellow guest Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that Bolton's conditions were designed in a manner that would never allow the US to say so long to the Middle Eastern country.

    "The idea that you could ever completely defeat ISIS [Daesh] while large swathes of Syrian territory or no man's land outside of any government control means, of course, that ISIS will never be defeated," Sleboda explained.

    "Setting a condition that you won't withdraw until you get [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to promise not to attack the YPG is absurd. It's not going to happen, and Erdoğan isn't going to agree to that."

    "These conditions are designed to ensure that the US never pulls out of Syria," he stressed.

    Acknowledging the back and forth between Trump administration officials on the matter, Sterling ultimately concluded that Americans are dealing with a "dysfunctional government in Washington."

    "Trump is erratic," he said. "He's not very well-educated, and he's used to a management style that comes from real estate and hotels: where he can issue dictates, and it'll be followed. Whereas in the government… you just can't issue it by tweet."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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