Trump Orders US Troops to Withdraw From Northern Syria

Turkey cuts supply lines, forcing US to abandon base

US officials had already made a big deal of withdrawing from northern Syria, but President Trump on late Saturday has finally ordered a full withdrawal from the area, covering about 1,000 troops that were still in potential combat areas.

Among the troops withdrawing were the personnel in a US base at Ayn al-Issa. Turkish forces were approaching the area, and had cut off US supply lines by seizing the highway. Keeping the base at that point seemed no longer feasible.

That the Pentagon is reporting this new order covers 1,000 troops in northern Syria is interesting, as just days ago the US claimed to have only 15-100 troops left there, when they came under fire from Turkish artillery. Even before that, Trump claimed the US had only ever had 50 troops there in the first place, as to downplay the pullback.

It is not clear from the reports where these 1,000 troops are going, though so far there is no indication that the US is actually leaving Syria. Rather, it is likely they’ll just move deeper south, as to give Turkey more room to operate.

With Turkey moving its troops deeper into Syria, and Syria’s Army advancing into the area to resist them, the fight could get very complicated very quickly. The US clearly doesn’t want to get directly involved, though these slow, incomplete pullouts mean the US is also determined to keep a toehold in the country.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.