People much more experienced in ground warfare than me wrote it not for once, albeit I wrote this too, that US position (Al-Tanf and around) is not tenable for a number of major reasons. Plus, R+6 victory over not just ISIS but whole Jihad Internationale became clear some time ago. Now, Trump promises US withdrawal from Syria.
President Donald Trump will announce that the U.S. will withdraw troops from Syria on Wednesday, two U.S. officials confirm. There is no timeline yet for the pace of the withdrawal, the officials said. There are about 2,000 U.S. troops in eastern Syria advising and assisting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against ISIS. The first U.S. troops arrived in Syria under the Obama administration in October 2015. The original force of 50 U.S. advisers grew to an official level of more than 500, though it had actually grown beyond that figure to approximately 2,000 over the following year.
If true, these are really good news for Syria and really-really bad news for Kurds who may face Erdo-dude's wrath, plus, as usual, experience the sense of betrayal by so many "allies".
As Bernhard of MoA writes:
With the U.S. moving out there will be a race to take those parts of Syria that the U.S. leaves. Turkey is likely to stick to its invasion plan. The Syrian government must now race to take back the Raqqa dam, the rich agricultural land north of the Euphrates and, most important, the oil and gas field near the Iraqi border which are needed to finance the country. It must also move parts of its army to the northeast Euphrates area to isolate and finally defeat the rest of ISIS that the U.S. seemingly leaves behind.
The deal between Erdogan and Trump is obvious, as is obvious a withdrawal of many Russian troops, with the exception of the contingent in both Khmeimim and Tartus, and a dramatic reduction of sorties by Russian VKS from 100 per day down to 2-4 a week now. The game for post-war "configuration" of Syria starts. There was another event which went almost unnoticed but was highly significant:
“Following the conversation between the Israeli PM & Minister of Defense and Vladimir Putin, senior IDF officers led by the Head of the Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, will go to Moscow tomorrow.”Advertisement“During the day-long visit, the delegation will brief their Russian counterparts on Operation Northern Shield and other operational issues,” the tweet concluded.
As great Ray Charles sang: everybody doin' the mess around. But inevitable question arises: who won? Syria defended her independence and that is what matters the most now. Russia, who contributed mightily to Syrian victory certainly benefits greatly too, both geopolitics and reputation-wise, Iran, however, will have to limit its freedom of actions in Syria which will be contingent on Russian-Israeli arrangements and this is the work in progress, granted greatly augmented by S-300 and S-400 complexes at a disposal of a greatly improved Syrian Air Defense. I am sure Syrian Arab AD professionals such as Akhmed Petrov, Mustafa Sidorov and Hafez Ivanov approve. But what was projected in 2015 by many, once Russia got involved in the fight against terrorist armies in Syria, she brought with her, inevitably, once the outcome became obvious, a massive geopolitical influence and earned a position of a primary broker in the Middle East. A significance of this is difficult to overstate--it has massive global ramifications. Behind that is Russia's military and economic power.
What's next? The remnants of ISIS (and other unicorns) will move and join earlier arrivals of Jihadists from Syria to Afghanistan where the US will try to play another act of a Big Game against Russia. Maybe, China. But we will see how the US will stick to its (now it was articulated) 60 to 100 days timeline, with US State Department "operatives" to be withdrawn within 24 hours. As I said, we'll see. Now, will Kurds, in a face of Turkey's military action against them, turn their sights to Damascus and Moscow for help? If they are not stupid, they will. You can not bargain with Erdogan, you can only move him into desirable position and then squeeze things from him. Meanwhile, Trump declared US victory over ISIS:
And that too was expected. Of course, who else but the US. Russians got used to this by now. After all, the US also defeated Hitler, if you know what I mean;) meanwhile, in a fine tradition of The Family Guy expressing the state of the affairs with someone else' art, enjoy: