Small Wars Journal

Pentagon Sustains Budget for Arming Local Anti-IS Forces Amid US Pullout

Pentagon Sustains Budget for Arming Local Anti-IS Forces Amid US Pullout by Jack Detsch - Al-Monitor

The Donald Trump administration’s top envoy for Syria confirmed today that the United States would continue to keep a residual troop presence in the war-torn country for the foreseeable future to ensure the lasting defeat of the Islamic State (IS) even as the Pentagon begins to draw down troops.

 

As the US administration celebrated the capture of the last IS-held territory in Syria this weekend, James Jeffrey, the special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy for the US-led anti-IS coalition, added his voice to the list of officials who have walked back expectations of a complete withdrawal from the country. The comments come as the Defense Department is doubling down on its support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in eastern Syria.

 

"Our forces will stay on in very limited numbers in the northeast and al-Tanf to continue our clearing operations and our stability operations against [IS] for a period of time, not to be determined at this point," Jeffrey told reporters at the State Department.

 

In a barrage of statements this weekend, the Pentagon and the top US military commander in the Middle East hit similar notes, indicating that the American troop presence could remain for some time…

Read on.