UPDATE: It seems that the White House has confirmed the withdrawal of US troops. However, considering the wording of the statement and the US successful experience of “troops withdrawal” from Afghanistan, it can be expected that the US will reduce the number of personnel deployed on the ground, but will not withdraw fully.
A notable part of US Special Operations Forces will remain on the ground and additional forces of US-linked private military companies will be deployed to “defend American interests”.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) December 19, 2018
The Turkish state-run media already came up with a list of US facilities in Syria:
In a surprise move, the U.S. military is preparing to withdraw its forces from northeastern Syria immediately, sources familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal on December 19.
According to the New York-based newspaper, U.S. officials began informing their allies in northeastern Syria of their plans to begin immediate withdrawal of American forces out of the region.
Citing an U.S. official, the Washington Post confirmed the Wall Street Journal’s report and revealed that the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria was taken at the late hours of December 18.
“The withdrawal is expected to occur as quickly as possible,” the Washington Post quoted the official as saying.
Following both reports, U.S. president Donald Trump said on Twitter that the U.S. has “defeated ISIS in Syria” and added that this was the only reason why he kept his forces in Syria.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
Trump said last March that the U.S. will withdraw its troops from Syria “very soon” and let “other people” handle the situation in the war-torn country. However, U.S. officials denied this later.
Northeastern during the last two weeks Syria witnessed a high-level of tensions. The main reason is that Turkey began preparations to launch a military operation against US-backed forces in the region. This may be one of the reasons that have forced Washington to reconsider its stand on Syria. On the other hand, Trump’s statement could be just another PR stunt deisgned to show the “big” role of his administration in the war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
- U.S., Turkey Bargain Over Syria Conflict: Kurdish Issue, Patriot Sales And “Deterrence” Of Iran & Russia