US Pullout From Syria at Risk as Israel Demands US Keep a Base

Israel wants US to maintain remote al-Tanf base

President Trump announced the withdrawal of US forces from Syria in mid-December, and here we are in late January still wondering about the pace of the process. Whether a full pullout will even happen is now also in doubt.

Israel was seen as dubious about the US pullout from the start, but didn’t publicly denounce it. Now, however, reports are that Israel is demanding that the US keep at least one base in Syria, the al-Tanf base, for Israel’s sake.

This seems to be at least under consideration, with some officials suggesting the US might keep al-Tanf to “challenge Iran,” which is of course exactly what Israel is hoping for.  This might also allow the administration to skirt legal concerts about changing the Syrian War from fighting ISIS to fighting Iran, as it’s less likely to face challenge in Congress if done at Israel’s behest.

Officials say this is ultimately up to Trump. That is a big part of why the future of the pullout is so uncertain, as Trump has largely not directly addressed it in recent days, preferring to let others in the administration issue conflicting statements.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of