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Kurdish-led forces call for 1,500 coalition troops to stay in Syria

The commander of US-backed forces in Syria called on Monday for about 1,000 to 1,500 international forces to remain in the country to help fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). The statement by Mazloum Kobani, the commander-in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), followed talks with senior US generals at an airbase in northeast Syria, Reuters reported. “We would like to have air cover, air support and a force on the ground to coordinate with us,” Kobani told a small group of reporters who traveled with the US military to an airbase at an undisclosed location in Syria. There were discussions about perhaps French and British troops supporting the SDF in Syria, but Kobani stressed he also wanted at least “a partial group of American forces,” who now number more than 2,000 in Syria, to stay as well. US Army General Joseph Votel, head of Central Command, said after the talks with Kobani that he was still carrying out President Donald Trump’s December order for a complete withdrawal of US forces.