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UK and France 'to send more troops to Syria' after demands from Trump

Analysis | 2019-07-10 14:35:52
UK and France 'to send more troops to Syria' after demands from Trump
Britain and France have reportedly agreed to send additional troops to Syria at the request of Donald Trump‘s administration.

Although the number of special forces troops operating in Syria has never been made public, both countries are preparing to send an additional 10-15 per cent of troops each, a US official told Foreign Policy magazine.

However, the official said “overall we have been disappointed” in efforts to persuade US allies to commit more resources to the fight against Isis.

The magazine described the deployment as “a major victory” for Mr Trump’s national security team.

In response to a request for comment from The Independent, the Ministry of Defence refused to deny the report, but added that it does not comment on the deployment of special forces as a matter of policy.

The US official told Foreign Policy magazine other countries may send small numbers of troops in exchange for US funding.

Earlier this week, Germany turned down a request from the Trump administration to commit ground troops to Syria.

German media reports over the weekend said James Jeffrey, the US envoy for Syria, asked government in Berlin to contribute ground troops to the anti-Isis coalition led by the US.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the government, said Germany has “made a considerable and internationally recognised contribution” to the coalition by training Iraqi troops, conducting aerial reconnaissance and refuelling allied aircraft.

Last year, Mr Trump ordered a full withdrawal of American forces from Syria, a move which led James Mattis to resign from his position as US defence secretary.

More than 2,000 US troops were thought to be in the country at the time.

Mr Trump later partially reversed his decision, leaving around 400 troops in the country.

Last week, the US-led coalition warned a new generation of jihadis is being created in camps holding the families of Isis fighters.

The potential for radicalisation in the camps is “the biggest long-term strategic risk” in the fight against the militant group outside of ongoing military operations, Major General Alexus Grynkewich, deputy commander of the international coalition, told The Independent.

He said: “The anecdotal stories we have about some of the women with their children who were surrendering, if you will, is that there are hardcore Isis ideologues among them. We certainly have seen reporting from some of the partners who work in those camps that there is a fair amount of that ideology.

“The children are being brought up in that. So you can almost see the next generation of Isis in those camps today. It’s a tremendous problem.”

The Independent
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