General Says US Committed to Fighting in Syria

Vows anti-ISIS operations will continue

Last week, Senators sent letters to the Pentagon asking for specifics on the Syrian mission. Though they did not address Gen. Frank McKenzie in these letters, the general has offered comments on US goals in Syria.

Speaking to troops at one of the outposts, Gen. McKenzie said that the US troops are “going to be here for awhile,” and that the US has made a commitment, which includes partnering with the Kurdish SDF and fighting against ISIS.

This would’ve made sense as a military policy for Syria six months ago. At this point, however, there are signs that the US has cut a lot of ties with the Kurds, and ISIS barely exists. President Trump has repeatedly said the whole operation in Syria is just about controlling Syria’s oil.

Pentagon officials have often suggested an ISIS war is still on the table, as a way of at least feigning legality for the US presence in Syria. It’s not clear what other officials will say in response to the Senate, but this provides a clear first indication of where the Pentagon’s top brass is likely to go.

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.