US Troops, Diplomats Withdraw From Northeast Syria

Trump says troops will stay in the region to prevent ISIS return

The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that the US is engaging in an official withdrawal of forces from northeastern Syria. This comes after President Trump issued such an order over the weekend.

It’s not clear how long this withdrawal will take. Defense Secretary Mark Esper attributed the move to “Turkey’s irresponsible actions” putting troops at risk. Indications are, however, that US troops still held positions on Monday, including on the highway between Manbij and Kobane.

In addition to the troop withdrawal, officials announced a diplomatic team working on stabilization operations has also withdrawn from this part of Syria, It’s unclear how big this diplomatic team was.

So far, the 1,000 troops withdrawn from northeastern Syria are still in the country, though analysts have suggested it is likely the US will ultimately withdraw from Syria. There has been no official announcement to that effect, however.

In the statement accompanying his executive order, President Trump said that troops leaving Syria will “redeploy and remain in the region” to prevent the return of ISIS. He did not indicate where the troops would be going, though Iraq or Kuwait are the most likely destinations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.