Small Wars Journal

Trump Shifts Course to Keep 200 Troops in Syria

Trump Shifts Course to Keep 200 Troops in Syria by Alex Leary and Dion Nissenbaum – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. will maintain a small peacekeeping force of about 200 troops in Syria despite President Trump’s earlier decision to remove all American troops, the White House said Thursday, illustrating the complications of a hastily announced withdrawal.

 

The announcement of the partial reversal came after the White House released a brief summary of a conversation between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier Thursday. The White House said the two “agreed to continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone” to ensure that Turkey doesn’t attack Kurdish-led forces, who have helped in the fight against Islamic State.

 

Hours later, the White House press secretary said a peacekeeping force of about 200 U.S. troops would remain in Syria “for a period of time.” She didn’t provide details, and the Pentagon on Thursday night said it had received no new direction.

 

The move signals a small victory for members of the Trump administration and lawmakers who have pressed the president to keep some U.S. forces in Syria to ensure that Islamic State doesn’t regroup and counter Iran…

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