US to Withdraw From Syria-Turkey Border Outposts to Buy Time for Pullout

Officials hope to slow Turkey's invasion of Kurdish territory

Having just built multiple observation posts in Syria, along the Turkey border, US officials say the military is going to quickly withdraw from them, as part of an effort to buy some time with Turkey as they complete a full US pullout from Syria.

The observation posts were presented by the Pentagon as a confidence-builder for Turkey, to give them warning if any Kurdish forces got too close to the border. Turkey’s President Erdogan was deeply critical of the move, saying the US was really observing the Turkish military to prevent them attacking the Kurds.

Ironically, ditching the posts is intended to prevent the exact same thing, with hopes that this will please Erdogan, and that the US will be able to keep Erdogan talking, and not invading, for awhile. At least long enough to get the US troops out of Syria.

Though it is clearly the preference of the US not to have its Kurdish allies overrun outright by the Turkish military, it’s clearly going to be more palatable if the US doesn’t have 2,000 troops in the middle of it. This oft-threatened Turkish invasion is likely a driving reason for President Trump, who just spoke with Erdogan a couple of days ago, wanting to withdraw.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.