DEBKAfile Exclusive: Decision to send US troops to Syria not linked to ISIS
President Barack Obama's decision to send another 250 troops to Syria is not connected to the war on ISIS, but rather on the battles raging over the past few days between the Kurdish YPG militia and the Syrian army in the city of Qamishli, the Kurdish capital in northern Syria. There are currently 50 US troops in the country. This is reported by DEBKAfile's military sources.
Washington is concerned that Russian influence is spreading among the Syrian Kurds, especially among senior YPG commanders. The Russians are the ones who encouraged the YPG to attack the Syrian army in Qamishli.
According to White House officials, the Russian involvement in Qamishli is Moscow's first violation of the agreement reached at the end of 2015 between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Under the deal, all of Syria east of the Euphrates river is an American area of influence, while all Syrian territory west of the river is a Russian area of influence.
DEBKAfile's sources add that the sending of American reinforcements is intended to signal to Moscow to stop its involvement with the Kurds east of the Euphrates.