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In Another Step Back, Pentagon To “Pause” U.S. Troops Withdrawal From Syria – Report

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In Another Step Back, Pentagon To “Pause” U.S. Troops Withdrawal From Syria – Report

A convoy of US forces armored vehicles drives near the village of Yalanli, on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, on March 5, 2017. Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

The Pentagon is planning to cut its combat force in northeastern Syria in half by early May, or to about 1,000 troops, and then pause the entire withdrawal process, the New York Times reported on March 29, citing U.S. officials.

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the complete withdrawal of his country’s forces from Syria. However, a backlash from the mainstream media and senior officials within his administration forced him to make a U-turn and agree to keep 400 troops in the war-torn country. This number has apparently increased now.

According to the New York Times’ sources, the U.S. Army will assess conditions on the ground and reduce the number of forces every six months or so, until it reaches the 400 troops in Syria.

Half of these forces will be a part of a multinational force that would establish a safe zone in northeastern Syria. The other half will be deployed in the area of al-Tanaf in the southeastern part of the country to block a key highway linking the Iraqi capital of Baghdad with Damascus.

Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the U.S. Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to comment on specific withdrawal plans when he was contacted by the New York Times.

“We continue to implement the president’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence in a deliberate and coordinated manner … This work is ongoing and, for operational security reasons, we will not discuss specific U.S. troop numbers or drawdown timelines,” Col. Ryder said in an email to the New York-based outlet.

The U.S. decision to stay in Syria will likely escalate the tension in the country. Turkey is already preparing for a possible military operation in northeastern Syria, while the Damascus government had warned U.S. proxies that it is willing to recapture its territory by force, if necessary.

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Raptar Driver

Everything said by ‘government’ officials of the U.S.A. is a lie to one degree or another; now it is easy to understand once the basic rule is established.


the blocking of the highway in the south east is just to prevent iran to have open access into syria. squatters are scared shitless but iran and turkey and syria will circles round the squatters so they’re doomed anyway.

John Wallace

That is the main Damascus – Baghdad highway which forces everyone to use the Damascus Palmyra Deir Azeir Al Bukamal route to Baghdad which is a little longer and open to ambush. It is also a base away from prying eyes which allows them to house and train who knows who for who knows where being just inside the border from Jordan and Iraq with a 50 mile buffer zone inside Syria. As you say basically to control that main road and hold civilians captive in the Rhukban camp.


Iran is still probably using it on the daily. Al-Tanf is stopping zero.

John Wallace

The US has had a 55 mile exclusion zone around Al Tanf for ages so I don’t see how they or the rebels will allow Iranian troops to use that road so I suggest highly unlikely . They would also have to get permission from Iraq to cross their territory as well as the PMU’s that control the Iraq border in that area. So probably is not good enough ..


The US has not been in Al-Tanf for ages. Get at least that one right.

John Wallace

OK since the start of 2016 they significantly increased their presence at Al Tanf . Is that pedantically better


Okay, more in the ballpark. Nice. Now for the rest of it. :)

John Wallace

If you think American troops and anti Assad rebels will allow Iran to use that road for military purposes you are in la la land. When Syria was making advances towards Deir ez Zor they were talking of finally opening a road to Baghdad if they could get down to the Iraqi border. That tells me that they did NOT have access using the road through Al Tanf. End of story so go and believe whatever you like but remember America sees Ira as State Sponsors of Terrorism and listed under axis of evil, due to their alleged terrorist activities. As for more in the ball park , how about bang on.They were in Al Tanf in 2015 which was a rebel held territory using Al Tanf a s a training base for the anti Assad rebels and they boosted their numbers in January of 2016. So in terms of the Syrian war they have been in Al Tanf for ages. The sooner they bomb Al Tanf out of existence the better.. Then they can release the civilian hostages at Rukban camp . Have a nice day .


okay. i am with you al-tanf not being legally there. it is basically cut off, has been for a while.

Len Zegelink

the ssa and iraqi pmu ,must attack al tanf now .and hard fuck the yhankies

John Wallace

And the Yanks will say ” sorry didn’t realise we had upset you so come over and have a burger and coke with us. ” Yes that sounds like the most likely response from the Yanks.

Tommy Jensen

Dont forget to put troops in Manbij. There is still a lot of problems for US/Nato to resolve.


NATO cannot resolve anything in Syria – because various NATO member’s arev occupying Syria in contradiction to each other (US and Turkey) and their respective protection of remaining terrorist enclaves is the ongoing problem in Syria.


Occupying 1/3 of Syria has been the proverbial “cakewalk” so far for the Armies of Mordor. If there is any dying to be done, the Kurds will usually be happy to do it for them in exchange for a few scraps. If you want the Americans to leave, you have to make them leave.

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