US troops occupying the petroleum-rich region of northeastern Syria have gotten a surprise visit from America’s top-ranking general and a vote of confidence that their illegal deployment is absolutely necessary to keep Americans safe.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley made an unannounced stop at a US base in Syria on Saturday, reportedly to review defenses against attacks by militants and evaluate efforts to prevent a re-emergence by the Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group. After the visit, he told reporters traveling with him that US troops and their local allies are making progress in ensuring that IS won’t rise up again.
Asked whether the Syrian occupation is worth the risks that it carries, Milley said removing the troops would jeopardize the security of the US and its allies. “If you think that that’s important, then the answer is ‘Yes,’” he said. “I happen to think that’s important. So I think that an enduring defeat of ISIS and continuing to support our friends and allies in the region… I think those are important tasks that can be done.”