There have been some intriguing developments related to Syria that are now being reported in the wake of President Trump’s announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

To begin with, it appears that the Kurds will be getting support from America’s regional allies.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have sent military forces to areas controlled by the Kurdish YPG group in north-east Syria, Turkey’s Yenisafak newspaper reported.

The paper said the forces will be stationed with US-led coalition troops and will support its tasks with huge military enforcements as well as heavy and light weapons.

Quoting the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the newspaper reported that a convoy of troops belonging to an Arab Gulf state recently arrived in the contact area between the Kurdish PKK/YPG and Daesh in the Deir Ez-Zor countryside.

This comes at a time when Ankara is preparing to launch an expanded military operation with the Free Syrian Army against the Kurdish PKK group in the northeast of Syria.

Furthermore, a Jordanian official reports that Russian forces currently in Syria will take action to restrain Hezbollah and Iranian activity there, according to understandings reached by the U.S., Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The understandings are the product of behind-the-scenes diplomatic talks that were underway prior to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this week to withdraw American forces from Syria.

According to the terms of the understanding, Russia will continue to give Israel the freedom to strike Hezbollah and Iranian targets and weaponry that threaten the “balance of power” in Syria. According to the Jordanian official, it was these understandings between Trump and Putin that paved the way for the U.S. decision to pull its forces from Syria.

Other high-ranking Jordanian officials have confirmed that Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to contain the threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah’s presence in Syria. Several of them emphasized that U.S. officials had made it clear that U.S. intelligence agencies would increase cooperation with Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, particularly on sharing intelligence, in a joint attempt to counter Iran’s attempt to create a contiguous Shi’ite corridor from Tehran to Beirut.

Finally, Saudi Arabia is hosting Afghan peace talks, which are slated to take place next month.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Wednesday arrived in Kabul from three days of meetings in Abu Dhabi, including the fourth round of a quadrilateral meeting among the US, Afghanistan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The meetings were part of efforts by the US and international partners to promote an intra-Afghan dialogue aimed at ending the conflict in the landlocked country.

Meanwhile, reliable sources said decisions in the UAE centered on an amicable Afghan settlement and the next meeting would take place on January 15, 2019 in Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps we will see if this regional-power approach is a better match for long-term success in 2019.


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