The U.S. is fighting Israel and the Gulf States’ war in Syria. From Daniel Larison at responsiblestatecraft.org:
American troops have been exchanging fire with alleged Iran-backed militas all week. The timing is curious, and dangerous.
U.S. forces in Syria have been carrying out strikes against “Iran-backed” militias this week in response to a recent drone attack on the American base at Tanf and rocket attacks at two other bases in northeastern Syria.
The first U.S. strike this week came in response to an August 15 attack, and that was quickly followed up by another hit. These airstrikes reportedly targeted bunkers used by the militias and killed between six and 10 people.
A later militia strike at bases in Deir al-Zour resulted in three U.S. troops suffering minor injuries, and the U.S. responded to that with Apache attack helicopters on Wednesday, reportedly resulting in casualties. It remains to be seen if the clashes will continue, but there has already been considerable escalation in just a few days.
Keeping American troops in Syria has been a serious mistake that multiple administrations have failed to correct. The longer that U.S. forces illegally remain in that country, the more likely it is that one of these clashes will result in casualties that could have been avoided. The Biden administration may be reluctant to withdraw troops from another country after what happened during the Afghanistan withdrawal, but their continued presence in Syria makes them targets and does nothing to make the United States more secure.
Bottom line: The risk to U.S. forces in Syria is increasing, and there are no discernible benefits from keeping them where they are that justify taking that risk. Contrary to what Biden has said, the U.S. is still at war in Syria, but it shouldn’t be and it doesn’t have to be.