U.S. Denies Report it is Leaving Up to 1,000 Troops in Syria

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The United States strongly denied Sunday a report that it intended to leave almost 1,000 troops in Syria, adding plans for a residual force of around 200 troops had not changed.

The Wall Street Journal had reported Sunday that as talks with Turkey, US-backed Kurdish forces and European allies have failed to produce a deal on a "safe zone" in northeastern Syria, the US now intended to keep working with Kurdish fighters in the country.

It quoted US officials as saying the plan could see up to 1,000 US forces spread across the country.

"A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect," General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a statement.

"There has been no change to the plan announced in February and we continue to implement the President's direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence."

But he added the US was continuing to "conduct detailed military planning with the Turkish General Staff to address Turkish security concerns along the Turkey-Syria border." 

"Planning to date has been productive and we have an initial concept that will be refined in the coming days," he said.

"We are also conducting planning with other members of the Coalition who have indicated an intent to support the transition phase of operations into Syria."

President Donald Trump had abruptly announced in December the immediate and complete withdrawal of the 2,000 US troops deployed in northeastern Syria, declaring victory against the Islamic State group. The decision prompted his defense secretary Jim Mattis to quit.

Then, under pressure from Congress and the Pentagon, he agreed to leave a residual force of some 200 US troops, which he wants to be reinforced by allies in the anti-IS coalition.

An objective of the international force is to guarantee the security of its Syrian Kurd allies. Turkey, a NATO member, views the Kurdish combatants as terrorists, and the Europeans fear they would be vulnerable if Ankara launched an offensive.

Comments 4
Thumb chrisrushlau 18 March 2019, 17:20

Clearly, France has the main role to play in this squabble between minor imperial competitors. When the world spells "empire", it does it F, R, A, N, K, S.

Thumb oompa.loompa 18 March 2019, 21:27

But your not racist, clearly. :-D :-D ;-)

Thumb chrisrushlau 19 March 2019, 00:46

My what is not racist? Franks were a Germanic tribe along side the Angles, Saxons, etc. What France likes to present as its alternative to Anglo-Saxon brutality is just the same brutality with a little Latin decoration.
You do well to recognize that racism is any attempt to say that two cultural groups cannot communicate with each other, so that one must coerce the other. I hope you recognize that definition. In Israel, racism is so prevalent that many government-identified Jews say that they cannot talk to other likewise-identified Jews.
Here at Naharnet most of the commenters believe that they cannot talk to Shia Muslims. Would they recognize one on the street if they met one? Does Lebanon, like Israel, register people by their "race"?

Thumb oompa.loompa 19 March 2019, 01:37

Of course you're not racist ;-) Instead of giving a nonsensical rambling excuse as to why you are racist or trying to deflect by accusing others try being less racist, maybe you'll learn something for a change. :-D :-D