US proposes to allies to create observation mission in northeastern Syria

Dozens of US Soldiers Wounded after Rockets STRIKE US Military Base in Syria

US proposes to allies to create observation mission in northeastern Syria

Statement by acting of the head of the Pentagon before the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels

Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who flew to Brussels today to meet with his NATO counterparts, announced a US plan for an international observation mission in northeastern Syria. Support for this initiative has already been expressed in the British Defense Department.

Britain is ready to do “whatever is required” to neutralize the threat posed by the terrorists of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said this on Wednesday, commenting on Patrick Shanahan’s statement.

And about. The head of the Pentagon said he was going to consult with allies during the Brussels meeting about the “potential” of a mission in northeastern Syria. The observation mission is supposed to be deployed immediately after the withdrawal of the US military.

The coalition led by the United States has been conducting fierce battles with militants for the fifth day in the last Syrian stronghold of the Islamists – the city of Baguz. At the same time, the United States did not abandon the idea of ​​withdrawing all 2 thousand servicemen who are now in Syria. The decision to withdraw troops was made last December by President Trump, shocking American allies who talk about a possible security threat after the US withdrawal from the region..

The NATO Defense Ministers’ Conference will be held for two days and will end on 14 February. According to Reuters, after the meeting, press conferences will be held by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and acting Pentagon chiefs Patrick Shanahan.

Shanahan, a longtime vice president of Boeing, became Deputy Secretary of Defense in June 2017. Its former leader, Jim Mattis, resigned on January 1 due to disagreements with the president. Following this, Donald Trump appointed Shanahan Acting Secretary of Defense.

US proposes to allies to create observation mission in northeastern Syria

Prior to that, Patrick Shanahan worked at the Pentagon on domestic defense policy and never met with colleagues from NATO countries. According to Reuters, the allies are wondering if Shanahan supports the rhetoric of Trump, who has repeatedly publicly questioned the need for US participation in NATO. A representative of one of the European countries, on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the allies hope to see Shanahan as a person with whom they “can work.”.

“Mattis was one of the few remaining officials in the Trump administration that we could rely on, so we consider his departure a great loss. Honestly, Shanahan is unfamiliar to us, ”the diplomat said..

In addition, the allies want to clarify Washington’s position on key issues, including the future configuration of forces of NATO countries in Syria and Afghanistan and the possible withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty with Russia..

A senior Pentagon official, also on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Patrick Shanahan will continue Jim Mattis’ policies and express support for NATO allies in Brussels. According to the source, Shanahan’s main message will be “an expression of confidence in the preservation of our alliance.” The US military envoy will reassure allies that “America remains deeply interested” in NATO’s existence, the official said..

However, the interlocutor of the agency added that Shanahan will try to convince colleagues from NATO countries of the need for a more equitable distribution of funding and full implementation of previously reached agreements, which President Trump personally insists on..

A Pentagon source says the NATO summit will allow the US to discuss with allies the possibility of creating a new arms control architecture and talk about NATO’s top security priorities..

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