By Kasim Ileri</p> <p>
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said Friday that President Donald Trump would ask European countries to send troops to establish a buffer zone in northeast Syria along Turkey’s southern border.
Graham's remarks came at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
Emphasizing the plan as a post-caliphate strategy, he said U.S. authorities discussed the issue in detail with Trump, who left the door open for leaving a certain number of American soldiers in the war-ravaged country.
“I’m hoping that President Trump will be coming to some of you and asking for your help and you’ll say ‘yes’, and in return, the capability we have that’s unique to the U.S. will still be in the fight in Syria,” he said in remarks to the conference.
Graham pointed out that Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would discuss with his counterparts about sending troops to Syria.
Stating that Europe suffered from the Daesh threat, Graham said the post-Daesh strategy should be different than the fight against Daesh.
“If we don’t have a game plan, Turkey will go into Syria and deal with the YPG threat,” he said.
“The YPG Kurds in the eyes of Turkey are an offshoot of the PKK, and they will not withstand the YPG on their border. We owe it to Turkey, an ally, to fix this problem. We owe it to the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] not to leave and let another war come that could destroy them. Who will help us in the future if we do that? So we need a safe zone to deal with that problem. The troops in that safe zone also need to watch for the reemergence of ISIS. If we don’t watch, Iran will be the biggest winner of the West withdrawing from Syria,” he said.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, in his addresses to journalists during NATO meetings in Brussels, said the U.S. would propose forming an observation force in northern Syria.
On the other hand, Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), previously told The Wall Street Journal that the U.S. could leave some troops in Syria.
*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this story from Ankara