LONDON: Mazloum Abdi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and head of a force of 60,000 troops, recently held a lengthy meeting with Brett McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
Originally from the town of Ain Al-Arab (Kobani) in northern Syria, Abdi said the meeting discussed US President Donald Trump’s intention to withdraw US troops from Syria and the SDF’s willingness to cooperate with Arab countries that might send troops to fight within the Coalition, in case the US withdraws from it.
“Officially, there is no decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, but President Trump proposed the matter to members of his government for discussion. We have information that the administration is discussing his proposal and the possibility of withdrawing troops or not,” Abdi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Talking about the possibility of deploying other forces in case of US withdrawal, Abdi replied: “There is nothing official to date, but countries have shown initial approval for sending their forces to Syria as part of the international Coalition.”
He continued by saying: “We are working with the Coalition to expel terrorism from Syria. We have no problem if Arab forces join the alliance and we will cooperate with them.”
Abdi also revealed that the Manbij Military Council (MMC) met with Turkish and American officials at Incirlik Air Base and requested that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) participate in the battle to free Manbij, and that Turkish officials agreed to this.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is comprised of 60,000 troops, 30,000 of which are guards stationed on the border with Turkey, the Iraqi border where Daesh still has a presence, and along the south of the Euphrates which is controlled by the Assad regime.