<p style="text-align: left;">The Donald Trump administration has asked European allies to participate in a safe zone to protect the US-backed Syrian Kurds, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: At face value, the rumored plan appears to be a win for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The group&rsquo;s political wing sent a delegation to Washington this week in an effort to lobby the US administration to slow down the withdrawal of 2,200 US troops and stop the creation of a Turkish-run safe zone.
&ldquo;We know what this safe zone will look like. A year ago Turkey invaded the SDF-controlled and majority Kurdish region of Afrin in northwest Syria along the Turkish border,&rdquo; the Syrian Democratic Council &mdash; the SDF&rsquo;s political wing &mdash; wrote in talking points seen by Al-Monitor. &ldquo;Turkey and its jihadist allies displaced the Kurdish civilians, destroyed Yazidi temples and resorted to ethnic cleansing,&rdquo; wrote the council.
Looks can be deceiving: But the US plan doesn&rsquo;t have any hard commitments so far. No European countries have agreed to send troops. Foreign Policy reported last week that the United States is also considering leaving open the Al-Tanf base that interdicts an Iranian supply line into Syria, leaving the impression that the administration has a lot of options left to sort through. But those plans could also be subject to a challenge from Democrats in Congress who have sought a new legal justification from the White House on wars in the Middle East.
Another version: But the Trump team has previously managed to get non-American units to backfill departing US troops &mdash; and for Gulf states to pass along foreign aid &mdash; even before the pullout became official. In April 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that national security adviser John Bolton had spoken with Egyptian officials about committing to a troop presence in northeastern Syria. Former US officials, however, told Al-Monitor that Cairo had limited ability to carry out such an operation despite receiving $1.3 billion in annual US military aid.
The United States also touted $150 million in donations from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to backfill US stabilization funding that ended last year. But it&rsquo;s unclear if that money has had any impact on the ground.
What&rsquo;s next: The US State Department is set to host a summit in Washington next week with foreign ministers representing more than 70 nations in the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition. That could provide another opportunity to discuss the buffer zone proposal.
Know more: Read Pentagon correspondent Jack Detsch&rsquo;s latest on the warning from the Syrian Kurds to Washington: They say they are willing to align with Bashar al-Assad&rsquo;s forces if they can&rsquo;t get US guarantees of protection from Turkey.

Reporter's code: 50101

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