On Thursday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) brought legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria to a vote in the Senate.

“Keeping 900 US troops in Syria does nothing to advance American security. Rather, our intervention puts those servicemembers at grave risk by providing an enticing target for Iranian-backed militias,” Paul said.

“Our continued presence risks the United States getting dragged into yet another regional war in the Middle East without debate or a vote by the people’s representatives in Congress. Congress must cease abdicating its constitutional war powers to the executive branch,” he continued.

In a 13-84 vote, the U.S. Senate overwhelming rejected withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria.

U.S. troops have come under attack dozens of times since the Israel-Gaza conflict began in the region.


“The bill failed in a vote of 13-84 and received support from seven Democrats, five Republicans, and one Independent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT). The resolution was introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who argued the US occupation of eastern Syria risks a major regional war,” Antiwar.com wrote.

Antiwar.com reports:

Paul’s bill would have given the president 30 days to withdraw from Syria unless he was able to get authorization from Congress. The resolution received support from Robert Ford, who was the US ambassador to Syria from 2011 to 2014 when the US first threw its weight behind the regime change effort against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We owe our soldiers serving there in harm’s way a serious debate about whether their mission is, in fact, achievable. Absent a debate and authorization of such a mission, our troops should be removed. Consideration of S.J. Res. 51 is an important opportunity for the Senate to take a step towards that necessary outcome,” Ford said.

The US has launched several rounds of airstrikes against Shia militias in Syria and Iraq in response to the rocket and drone attacks that have targeted US bases since October 17. The US bombings, which have killed dozens of militia members, have not deterred further attacks, and the region has turned into a powder keg.

The US maintains that its presence in eastern Syria is about fighting ISIS remnants, but the occupation is part of a broader campaign against Damascus and its allies, which includes Iran. The US maintains crippling economic sanctions on Syria that are designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction, and the area the US occupies is where most of Syria’s oil and gas fields are located.

Sen. Rand Paul said in this press release:

Although Congress never authorized the use of military force in Syria, the Biden Administration maintains 900 troops there. These troops are vulnerable to attacks by state and non-state actors as is tragically evident by recent weeks. Since Hamas’ reprehensible October 7th attack on Israel, our troops in Syria and Iraq have been attacked at least 76 times. According to the Pentagon, a total of 59 U.S. military personnel were injured in these attacks. Of those injured, 32 were at al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria, where our soldiers suffered various injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.

In September 2014, the Obama administration initiated U.S. military operations in Syria without congressional authorization. By 2017, the Pentagon revealed that 2,000 U.S. troops were deployed to Syria. The mission outlined in Operation Inherent Resolve to degrade and destroy ISIS was achieved in 2019 when the ISIS caliphate was eradicated. Four years later, 900 U.S. troops remain in Syria, with no clear objective, no definition of victory, no exit strategy, and no authorization from Congress to engage in hostilities there.

“After a Thanksgiving weekend break that coincided with a humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war, Iran-backed militias have resumed attacking bases housing American troops in Iraq and Syria, although less frequently than in October and November,” Military Times noted.

Per Military Times:

The Pentagon has recorded 78 attacks total, spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters on Thursday. That number includes five attacks since Nov. 29, the last day of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire.

“Look, in terms of the attacks on our forces I think it’s important to remember that it’s good that we have not seen attacks on our forces in the last 24 hours,” Singh said. “We would like to see that continue.”

It’s hard to say whether the attacks will escalate to previous levels, Singh added, when multiple attacks were taking place daily between Oct. 17 and Nov. 22.

There have been 66 total injuries, Singh said at the briefing, a number that’s held steady since late November. Officials have not specified how many of those incidents included traumatic brain injuries.

“I can’t predict the future,” Singh said of the possibility of additional attacks. “But I would remind you that when we have decided to respond, it has been deliberate. It has been effective.”

Since October, there have been three preplanned, targeted strikes on facilities in Syria aimed at destroying weapons the militias use in their attacks.

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