On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced that the US will keep about 200 troops in the country as a “peacekeeping group” even after the formal withdrwal from the country.
However, by Friday, it had appeared that this number could be doubled. According to this version of the event, 200 troops will remain at the US base of al-Tanf, located on the Damascus-Baghdad highway and 200 others will be deployed in the area controlled by US-backed forces in northeastern Syria.
JUST IN: 400 U.S. troops will stay behind in Syria– not 200 as the White House said last night a statement: U.S. official. Friday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the 200 number a “rough estimate.”
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) February 22, 2019
Earlier this week, reports appeared that the UK and France will withdraw their forces from Syria if the US pulls out its own troops. Therefore, it became apparent that the US-led coalition will collapse without US boots on the ground in Syria. So, the Trump adminstration may have decided to re-shape its approach. Another important factor contributing to the prolonged US presence in the war-torn country is the hardcore pro-Israeli policy of the Trump administration. The US military presence in Syria remains a useful tool in the ongoing geopolitical standoff against Iran.