Syria: US Troops and “SDF” Isolated and Besieged


02-04-2023: The US military launched an attack on the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor in late March, in retaliation for a drone strike on north-eastern Hasakah’s Kharab al-Jir military airport, which reportedly killed a US contractor and injured several others.[1] US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that their strike had taken place at President Joe Biden’s direction and was aimed at facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC). It was claimed that the US strike killed six “pro-Iran fighters”.[2] The Pentagon later made the astonishing claim that the US does not seek a war with Iran in Syria, and that it was only there to complete its mission of containing ISIS.[3]

US forces face guerrilla attacks

In reality, the remaining US troop presence in Syria is the dregs of its failed war of regime change which it waged from 2011 onwards. Some 900 US troops, and an undisclosed number of mercenaries,[4] occupy parts of North and East Syria in flagrant violation of international law. They sponsor the ludicrously named “Syrian Democratic Forces”, which are mainly comprised of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party – which in practice is neither left-wing nor pro-worker) and its YPG (People’s Protection Units) unit. A former CIA officer in an interview stated that the PKK and YPG had attempted to rebrand itself as the “SDF”, when the US government knew that both groups are part of the same organisation which has been proscribed as terrorist.[5] Not only are the US and “SDF” occupying around one third of Syria, they are stealing its oil. In fact, within hours of the US air strike on Deir Ezzor, 148 vehicles – including 80 tankers full of oil – passed through the Al-Walid crossing into Northern Iraq.[6]

In fact, it is estimated that the Syria has had $107.1 billion[7] literally stolen from its oil and gas sectors throughout the now 12-year long US led proxy regime change war. Even the normally diplomatic government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has condemned the US government for the sheer scale of the plunder of Syria. Its Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijuan stated that there is “no greater injustice to see the world’s wealthiest country robbing one of the poorest”,[8] and urged the US to end its illegal military presence in Syria. Yet for the last period, the US troop in Syria are coming under more and more attacks by the Syrian, Iranian and Russian backed forces co-operating in an attempt to finally end the devastating imperialist war which has been waged against Syria. In January, there were drone attacks on the US Al-Tanf base in southern Syria.[9] This was just one attack the occupying forces have sustained, with the US military claiming that their troops have come under attack in Syria some 78 times[10] from Iranian backed forces since the beginning of 2021.

Not only that, Russian ground attack aircraft have been “buzzing” (flying over) US locations in Syria, according to the head of the US Central Command.[11]  Russian fighter jets have also been circling a US air base in Syria[12] less than a week after the confrontation of two SU-27 aircraft and a US MQ9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea, which resulted in the US drone crashing into the water. Russian intervention in Syria from 2015 onwards – at the invitation of the Syrian government – was taken in recognition of the fact that the US was targeting Russia via Syria. Arguably, the US proxy war on Syria was transferred to a proxy war against Russia via Ukraine. Yet the military situation for the US troops in Syria has not been favourable as geo-political changes have taken place in recent times. In other words, the US troops in Syria have become isolated and besieged, and will eventually be forced out of the country, unless the US state decides to go for broke and spark a war with neighbouring Iran.

US could “lose” the Middle East

It should be remembered that during the Donald Trump administration, the US Congress and parts of the military acted to block and defy orders Trump gave to withdraw troops from Syria and other countries.[13] Today, if Joe Biden does not withdraw the US troops from Syria, their military situation will deteriorate further and further. The deal that changes the calculus in the Middle East now is the peace deal between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran,[14] which was brokered by Wang Yi, the PRC’s foremost Foreign Policy representative. With decades of hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran gone, this could potentially mean a final end both to the US led war of regime change against Syria, and to the Western backed Saudi Arabian war on Yemen. In addition, one Arab government in the region after another is rebuilding relations with Syria after years of being shunned. In fact, it is likely that Syria will, sooner or later, be readmitted to the Arab League.

Workers should take a military side with the non-imperialist bloc which is striving to end decades of war brought on by blatant interference from Washington and their allies. There is no “ISIS” in Syria or elsewhere which is not in some way armed and funded by US or European imperialism. To the extent that Russia, Iran and Syria and even China co-operate to push back and push out US imperialism in the Middle East, this should be welcomed and defended by working people the world over. Capitalism in the West is rapidly declining, and with it its military power which it has used in the past.

At the same time, the governments of Russia, Iran, Syria and China do not provide adequate political leadership. All of these governments, despite defending themselves from imperialism militarily, capitulated to the West’s maniacal “Covid” narrative, and do not seek to change current class relations, at home or internationally. What is urgently required in the East and West are vanguard parties of the working class, steeped in authentic Leninism, which can lead workers to a future where imperialist wars become a relic of a dim and distant past. US TROOPS OUT OF SYRIA!



[1] (29-03-2023)

[2] (29-03-2023)

[3] (29-03-2023)

[4] (29-03-2023)

[5] (29-03-2023)

[6] (29-03-2023)

[7] (29-03-2023)

[8] (29-03-2023)

[9] (29-03-2023)

[10] (29-03-2023)

[11] (29-03-2023)

[12] (29-03-2023)

[13] (29-03-2023)

[14] (29-03-2023)

Image: Soldier of the Syrian Arab Republic waves the national flag in defiance of the US led regime change war.

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