Nearly 1,000 US Troops in Syria Months After ISIS Lost Last Territory

US general claims 'still some ripe targets out there'

ISIS is defeated in Syria. That’s not a recent thing, either, as the last territory held by ISIS was taken by the Kurdish YPG some four months ago. This ISIS War was the justification of the US deployment into Syria, but just because that’s over doesn’t mean they’re going to leave.

Indeed, while official figures aren’t easy to come by, there are still nearly 1,000 US troops inside Syria, all embedded within Kurdish territory, and all put there nominally to fight ISIS.

Of course, the decision to stay in Syria, after Trump declared his intention to pull out, was also done to protect the Kurdish YPG from an oft-threatened Turkish invasion. Turkey continues to threatening such an invasion.

But Turkey is always threatening the Kurds, and they’re always going to be threatening the Kurdish YPG. For the US to commit itself to continuing to stay on that basis is to commit to a forever occupation.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, likely aware that a forever occupation wouldn’t sell well, says the troops are there because “there are still some ripe targets out there and we are going after them.” He didn’t clarify, and over the list four months there’s been no sign US forces are going after anything.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of