Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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True motivations behind Milley's visit to Syria

Friday 24/March/2023 - 11:58 AM
The Reference
Mahmud al-Batakoshi

The US administration wants to restore its influence in the Middle East, especially after the historic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Washington also wants to counter the growing Russian influence in the region.

This is confirmed by the visit Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US army, paid in early March to US military bases in north-eastern Syria.

This was the first visit by Milley to the base since he took office in 2019.

The visit came under the pretext of protecting American soldiers and keeping them away from areas targeted by attacks from ISIS which has stepped up these attacks in eastern Syria since the beginning of this year.

The elements of the organization carried out 14 attacks in the areas of influence of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US administration, resulting in the death of 12 people and the injury of four US troops in February 2023.

This alarmed Washington which considered it a clear threat to its interests.

Blatant interference

The visit of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US army to the US military bases in north-eastern Syria came amid great anger from Syrian authorities which considered it a blatant interference in the sovereignty of Damascus.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry described the visit as an 'illegal' one.

It stressed in a statement that Syria confirms that the visit is a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and inviolability of its territory and unity.

The Foreign Ministry called on the US administration to immediately stop its systematic and continuous violations of international law and stop its support for separatist armed militias.

The visit coincided with Israeli attacks and raids on Iranian targets inside Syria.

At the end of January 2023, weapons trucks were targeted in the countryside of the city of al-Bukamal in Deir ez-Zor province, on the Iraqi-Syrian border, which led to the death and destruction of those inside.

A weapons laboratory belonging to pro-Iranian factions in Deir ez-Zor was also bombed, resulting in the death of seven people.

American insistence

According to Lebanese political analyst Faisal Abdul Satter, Milley's visit reflects the US administration's insistence not to withdraw its forces from Syria, especially in the light of growing opposition inside the US against this presence.

"The US always seeks to inflame conflicts in order to ensure the continuation of its influence, as it often gives ISIS the kiss of life," Abdul Satter told The Reference.

ISIS, he added, carries out its role in accordance with the American plan in full.

"The US wants to ensure its continued presence in Syria so that it can keep stealing Syrian wealth and resources, including oil, gas and agricultural crops," Abdul Satter said.