Above Photo: Marilyn Humphries/Flickr
The US is increasing its military presence in Syria. In, “Trump OKs wider Syria oil mission, raising legal questions” the AP reports:
“President Donald Trump has approved an expanded military mission to secure an expanse of oil fields across eastern Syria, raising a number of difficult legal questions about whether U.S. troops can launch strikes against Syrian, Russian or other forces if they threaten the oil, U.S. officials said.
“The decision, coming after a meeting Friday between Trump and his defense leaders, locks hundreds of U.S. troops into a more complicated presence in Syria, despite the president’s vow to get America out of the war. Under the new plan, troops would protect a large swath of land controlled by Syrian Kurdish fighters that stretches nearly 90 miles (150 kilometers) from Deir el-Zour to al-Hassakeh, but its exact size is still being determined.
“Officials said many details still have to be worked out. But, Trump’s decision hands commanders a victory in their push to remain in the country to prevent any resurgence of the Islamic State group, counter Iran and partner with the Kurds, who battled IS alongside the U.S. for several years. But it also forces lawyers in the Pentagon to craft orders for the troops that could see them firing on Syrian government or Russian fighters trying to take back oil facilities that sit within the sovereign nation of Syria.”
The total number of US troops is unknown. While Trump has explained the purpose multiple times by saying the U.S. is “keeping the oil,” AP reports that Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday, he “interprets” Trump’s remarks to mean the military should deny IS access to the oil fields. KZ