U.S. forces have evacuated a base in the northeastern countryside of Syria’s al-Hasakah, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on January 8.
Local sources told the state-run news agency that U.S. forces have completely withdrawn from the base, which is located near the town of Khrab al-Jir. Dozens of trucks were used to relocate military equipment.
“40 trucks carrying military equipment and vehicles left [the base] and headed to the town of al-Suwaydiyah, near the illegal al-Walid border crossing [with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region],” the SANA quoted one of the sources as saying.
Kurdish sources in northeast Syria said that no U.S. troops left the region. This suggest that the withdrawal was a part of redeployment within Syria.
Early in the morning, U.S. forces in northeast Syria were reportedly place on high-alert following the Iranian missile strike on U.S.-led coalition bases in northern and western Iraq. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) carried out the attack in response to the assassination of its senior commander Maj. Gen. Soleimani.
Many local observers warned that U.S. bases in Syria may became targets for Iran, or even its allies. However, Tehran apparently opted to respond in Iraq, where Soleimani had been killed by the U.S. earlier this month.
500 U.S. service members were kept in northeast Syria, in al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor. These troops are supposedly tasked with countering the ISIS influence and “guarding” key oil fields in the region.