US Has No Plans to Withdraw From Syria Or End Sanctions

Kirby: Troops solely there to fight ISIS

Apart from a few outlying territories, the Syrian War is for all intents and purposes over. The rebels are defeated and Assad endures. The war being over doesn’t appear to impact the US plans however.

Roughly 1,000 US troops are deployed in Syria, and officials say they have “no plans”  to end that presence, or to lift sanctions aimed at regime change in Syria.

During the Trump Administration, US forces shifted focus to an oilfield with a new mission to “take the oil.” Illegality of that aside, it appears that plan remains in place.

John Kirby says the US goal in Syria is “solely to combat ISIS,” an interesting position since the US almost never fights ISIS at all. Recent anti-ISIS operations were launched by Syria and Russia.

The US ditched anti-ISIS operations in Syria long ago, and now just is hanging out on the bases, and the oilfields, waiting for something to do, and keeping another costly oversees operation on the books.

Throughout the war, the US armed factions in Syria, including rebels and the Kurdish SDF. US support for those factions is limited now and seems to have very little impact on post-war Syria.

The problem is that the US went from unrealistic exit strategies to none at all, following the failed strategy in Afghanistan to just keep the war going until victory magically happens or defeat is so complete they can’t keep up the pretense of effort anymore. US sanctions directly anathema to Syrian stability will endure, and that’s about it.

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.