The upcoming withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria will mark the end of the Washington’s aerial operations against ISIS in the war torn country, U.S. officials told the Reuters news agency on December 20.
According to the officials, the end of the air campaign against ISIS would be linked to the withdrawal of the U.S. forces. Reuters said that one of the official noted that a final decision had not yet been made and did not rule out some kind of support for “partners and allies.”
“As long as there are U.S. troops on the ground we will conduct air and artillery strikes in support of our forces. We will not speculate on future operations,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement responding to Reuters.
U.S. President Donald Trump had said that the U.S. defeated ISIS in Syria and that this was the only reason for deploying forces there. However, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls northeastern Syria, rejected Trump’s claims in a recent statement and said that the battle against terrorism is still ongoing.
According to Airwars, a monitoring group following actions of the US Air Force, more than 95% of the US-led coalition airstrikes against ISIS in Syria were carried out by American warplanes. The end of this air cover is another reason, which could push the SDF towards a deal with Russia and the Damascus.