17:59 GMT +326 March 2017
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    Trump Administration Abandons US Initial Priority in Syria to Oust Assad

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    The Pentagon’s plan to assault the Syrian city of Raqqa calls for increased US military participation, according to media reports. Russian analyst Alexei Muraviev suggested that the Western coalition is reconsidering its strategy in Syria.

    Significant US military participation would include increased Special Operations forces, arms deliveries to Syrian Kurds and Arab fighting forces on the ground, as well as attack helicopters and artillery, unnamed officials told the Washington Post.

    The Pentagon also proposed to ease a number of restrictions, which had been imposed under former United States President Barack Obama, on the size of the country's military contingent in Syria, currently involving about 500 trainers and advisers.

    The US troops would not be directly involved in the fighting on the ground, according to the report.

    Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Daesh caliphate, is located in northern Syria, 160 kilometers east of Aleppo, on the bank of the Euphrates. Daesh captured the city in 2013, and since then Syrian forces have made numerous attempts to regain control, but failed. In 2014, the Syrian Army lost control over the entire province of Raqqa.

    The Western coalition is now reconsidering its goals and tasks in the Middle East, according to Alexei Muraviev, a senior analyst at the School of Oriental Studies, at the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics.

    "Looking back, initially the intervention was expected to be directed not against terrorists, but against [Syrian President] Bashar Assad who allegedly violated human rights. Eventually, these goals contradicted with reality. Now it seems that the new US presidential administration understands that it needs to change its goals in Syria," Muraviev told Radio Sputnik.

    President Donald Trump has repeatedly stressed that the US should destroy Daesh in Syria and Iraq, which would require significant reconsideration of the American strategy in the region.

    "As I understand, this reconsideration has entered the practical phase," the analyst noted.

    Some experts suggested that the possible buildup of US troops in Syria may be related to Washington’s attempt to offset Russia’s achievements in the region. However, according to Muraviev, such an assumption is only partially correct.

    "Of course, Russia is getting the upper hand in Syria. Maybe, its main achievements are not military, but political, in particular, the negotiating process in Astana. The US-led coalition cannot boast anything of the kind. Nevertheless, the US also has certain achievements, including the operation to liberate Mosul from Daesh. Terrorists are fleeing the Iraqi city. This is why, this opinion has the right to exist, but it doesn’t show the bigger picture," the analyst explained.

    According to Muraviev, the US could turn to cooperation with Russia on Syria, but this depends on President Trump.

    "It depends on whether Donald Trump will be able to take independent steps in foreign policy. I think that Trump intends to work together with Russia, at least in the Middle East. Moreover, all forms of cooperation were agreed between [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov and [former State Secretary John Kerry] during [Barack] Obama’s presidency. But the future of such an alliance will depend on whether the new US presidential administration will be able to act independently," the expert concluded.


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    terrorism, military conflict, cooperation, Daesh, Pentagon, Bashar al-Assad, Donald Trump, Syria, United States, Russia, Raqqa
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    • avatar
      John Mason...on FB post emphasis should be on a attempt to annex that region, to do so would require a substantial additional budget plus a major injection of troops and arms such a decision although I can see the US as having some motivation to pull off that stunt it would come at a price.
      Would Syria with militia support of Iran and Hezbollah oust the US military? would Russia support that action? would this ignite WW3 well and truly.
      The only part we do know is that Syria has reached once again the critical road map to either world war or a peace settlement with a compromise reached on Israel.

      Russia is earnestly trying to have the breach of Syrian sovereignty resolved the key is Israel which requires a solution far outside the square to deflate tensions in the middle east.
      I believe the state of Israel should be dissolved and a open invitation for a joint Syrian - Israeli parliament headed by Assad and Netanyahu with Syria opening up lands for settlement in the south of Syria after all Syria is Gods own land.

      Which is what Israel secretly wanted to achieve in the first place without Assad of course and without paying a premium for it. Something it might still invade Syria for if it thinks it can get away with it.
      All in all a solution must be found such a deal would have to protect Russia and Iran who stand to lose economic viability with the influence of a anti Russian Israeli stance.
      Hell complex but far better than WW3 would you agree?
    • Alex Stanley
      Incorrect. Allowing US to participate in Raqqa operation will eventually lead to Syria's break up.
    • AvantG
      The US is not needed as the Russian-Syrian alliance have all but liberated Syria. If the US intervenes and does its own thing it will create another mess. They must cooperate with the Russian-Syrian alliance otherwise they'll provoke more bloodshed and possibly rally a demoralized ISIS back to the forefront. Ideally the US should let it be, but of course pride does come before ones fall.
    • choticastilein reply toivanwa88(Show commentHide comment)
      ivanwa88, Was the above a full quote by this John Mason on FB? Or if not, where do your own thoughts start? Can only tell you hell will freeze over before Assad and Netanyahu sit around one table, never mind presiding over one parliament!
    • choticastilein reply toAlex Stanley(Show commentHide comment)
      Alex Stanley, Ja, dunno either ... Turkey's actions or rather Erdogan's-- when one checks reputable news on the net, there's a lot of gray clouding the vision. So many different players... Only Russia and Syria, Iran, Hezbollah et al, are committed 100% to rid Syria of terrorists of all stripes-- no other motive but to free Syria from foreign occupation and assure her territorial integrity is restored and her sovereignty returned, the Syrian people can pick up their lives and progressively begin to restore their once beautiful country, now ever more doomed to being razed to the ground. God alone knows, when Russia and Syria's solution for the way forward, is so obvious and could become a practical reality within a couple of weeks. But no-- hell must continue-- western stakeholders determined to get their slice and save a bit of its greed eaten visage. I read two pieces on Turkey today, which made my blood run cold ...


      I can only presume that Russia is meeting the US more than halfway, as it would possibly assist President Trump. But there's too many other factors within the US, which pose a grim scenarios for what could end up as AvantG said above, "they'll provoke more bloodshed and possibly rally a demoralized ISIS back to the forefront" --because make no mistake, certain parties within the US, such as McPain et al, are fraternizing with terros as much as ever. So who's who in the zoo, when it comes to American on the ground and in he air forces-- this in already crowded skies? You know, I don't even want to watch or read news on the ME anymore, just close my eyes and hope Russia and Syria somehow sets the whole caboodle on their ear without a WW3. As everyday things are getting more and more volatile and fragile. Just check this out too...

      Does this Erdogan come across as an ally of Russia?? No no!-- cannot see it. Just like those he mixes with-- he plays the game both sides!
    • avatar
      choticastile....John Mason covered the theory that US will only annex the area I explained that is not as simple as it might appear and that a much broader solution is required to resolve the central issue inflaming the Middle East being the Israeli warmongering stance when fully supported by the US and NATO.
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