According to former Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, the limited number of US troops can not force Iran’s Syrian forces out.
Hagel told Defense One that
“The U.S. doesn’t even control half of Syria. You’ve got 2,000 [U.S.] troops up in the northeast corner. I mean, come on, you’re not going to drive Iranians out of Syria with 2,000 American troops,” “It’s complete folly to think you’re going to threaten the Syrians or the Russians or the Iranians into anything.”
He also wished good fortune to John Bolton, the US National Security Adviser, emphasizing that in the case of Syria, there is no other way but to find a political solution based on the common interests of the countries involved.
The comments of the former Pentagon chief came after Bolton’s statement to reporters that he said US forces “would not leave Syria before Iranian troops…” For Hagel, sending 2,000 troops does not create any stability in Syria, since there are Russian and Iranian forces in the area, not a place where there is no force.
“You tell me what the foreign policy objective is to using 2,000 American troops stationed in Syria and then I’ll give you an answer. I don’t know what our foreign policy objective is in the Middle East or almost anywhere else,” Hagel said. “How do you accomplish some stability in Syria?…You’re not going to do that without the Russians, without the Iranians, without the other players in the country, in the region.”
James Jeffrey, the US Special Representative for Syria, commented on criticism by Hagel that both Russia and the United States could not withdraw Iranian troops from Syria because their presence is the result of a formal request from the Damascus government, stating that “technically the government of Syria invited the Iranians”.
In addition, Jeffrey informs that even if the American president opts for the American troops to stay in Syria until the Iranian troops leave the territory, that does not mean that there will be conflicts in the territory.
Assad says that Damascus has requested the help of Iranian and Russian troops and that at no time did it request the presence of US, French, Turkish and Israeli troops, which it described as “occupation forces”.