Senators Seek Clarity on US Military Mission in Syria

Pentagon asked to detail primary, secondary missions

In a bipartisan bid for some clarification, Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) have submitted a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley asking for specifics on the US war and military goals in Syria.

The letter wants them to articulate a “coherent and consistent strategy to Congress.” In particular, they want to know what the primary mission of US forces in Syria is, and what secondary missions, if any, are also being pursued.

Officials have offered several contradictory statements on US strategy in Syria. President Trump, however, has repeatedly said that the sole reason for having US troops in Syria is to “control the oil,” with an eye toward eventually taking the oil.

The letters request an answer as soon as possible, with a deadline of February 13 for an answer. It is entirely possible that no answer will ever be offered, as the Trump Administration has consistently ignored Congressional questions and requests for briefings on strategy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.