While testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a top Biden administration Pentagon official confirmed today that the illegal US military presence in Syria would continue:
The Biden administration is committed to retaining US military presence in northeast Syria.
This is consistent with reporting from last month that said that US forces would be staying there. The continued presence in Syria has the least justification of any mission in the region, and it has absolutely no legal authorization, so of course it is the one that will continue indefinitely. Officially, the approximately 900 troops in Syria are there to advise the Syrian Democratic Forces against the remnants of the Islamic State, but now that ISIS has been defeated they have no reason to be there. They also have no authorization to be there, and their mission has nothing to do with US security. US forces have been operating illegally in Syria for the last seven years ever since the Obama administration expanded the campaign against ISIS there, and every day that they remain in Syrian territory is another day that the US proves that it has no respect for international law.
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.