Our sources can now reveal the nature of that presence and the process afoot for the gradual US withdrawal. In the last few days, Egyptian and UAE military officers visited the contested north Syrian town of Manbij. They toured the town and its outskirts, checked out the locations of US and Kurdish YPG militia positions, and took notes on how to deploy their own troops as replacements. On the diplomatic side, the White House is in continuous conversation with the UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammed Bin Ziyad (MbZ) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. The deal Trump is offering, is that they take over US positions in Manbij, where the Kurds have sought protection against a Turkish invasion, and American air cover will be assured against Russian, Syrian or Turkish attack.
As DEBKAfile has noted, the Egyptian president, during his four years in power, was the only Arab leader to consistently side with Bashar Assad against the insurgency against his regime. Assad may therefore accept the posting of Egyptian forces in Manbij so long as Syrian officers are attached to their units. The Syrian president would likely also favor a UAE military presence. Not only was the emirate the first Arab nation to reopen its embassy in Damascus after long years of Arab boycott, but unlike most of its Arab League colleagues, the UAE can well afford to contribute funding for the colossal reconstruction task needed for getting the war-devastated country on its feet.
Approval of the Egyptian-UAE forces to Manbij would kick off the stationing of mixed Arab forces in other parts of Syria, including the border with Iraq. If the Trump administration’s plans mature, then countries like Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Algeria would send troops to push the Iranian military presence out of key areas where they have taken hold.
Full article: Trump phases Arab forces into Syria vs Iran ahead of US pullout. Egyptian/UAE officers on the scene (DEBKAfile)