US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria require more air defences in North and East Syria due to escalating attacks by Turkey and pro-Iran factions, stated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) General Commander Mazloum Abdi on Thursday in an interview with Reuters.
This request comes in response to escalating attacks, notably a recent drone strike on a Commando Academy attributed to pro-Iran factions, which Abdi described as a “dangerous development”.
Abdi underscored the vulnerability of SDF fighters, integral to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS), amid the increasing regional unrest. The SDF, with a significant Kurdish component alongside Arab fighters, controls a substantial part of Syria, including strategic oil fields and areas hosting around 900 US troops.
Amid speculation about a possible withdrawal of US forces from the region, Abdi confirmed he has received assurances from the US State Department, White House and Pentagon that their mission would persist. However, he pragmatically acknowledged that a future withdrawal remains conceivable, stating, “Truthfully, we don’t expect American troops to stay here indefinitely”.
The potential pull-out of US forces, Abdi warned, would exponentially escalate the threats from Iran-backed groups, ISIS and Turkey. Abdi emphasised that any withdrawal would prompt the SDF to adapt its strategies to safeguard the interests of its people and maintain regional stability, explicitly excluding any long-term alliance with the Syrian armed forces, which he noted lacks the capacity to counter ISIS effectively.