US Moves Closer to Diplomatic Recognition of SDF Areas in Syria
Washington is expected to soon take concrete steps towards diplomatically recognizing the eastern Euphrates region controlled by the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces, which amounts to an area of about 28,000 square kilometers, three times the size of Lebanon.
According to a senior Western official, the US administration is in the process of adopting a new strategy for Syria.
The first "concrete sign" of a change in American position in Syria, was given by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis when he said Washington would send "diplomats" to SDF-controlled areas to work alongside the military, the official told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.
Washington is also pushing for the empowerment of local councils in the post-ISIS era.
US policy is leaning towards backing reconstruction initiatives, the strengthening of public services and infrastructure, training of government agencies, in addition to protecting SDF areas and the upkeep of military bases, later leading to diplomatic recognition.
Meanwhile, the Russian-run Hmeimim airbase reported on Saturday evening that it was attacked by a "foreign body", while rebel sources indicated that drones were used to bomb the base.
It is the second time al-Qaeda has targeted the base after previous reports said that seven planes were destroyed and a number of soldiers killed on a December 31 attack, a claim which Moscow denied.
Hmeimim is a Syrian airbase currently operated by Russia, located south-east of the city of Latakia in Hmeimim, Latakia governorate.