U.S. Allies Spurred a Partial Reversal of Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan, Official Says by Nancy A. Youssef – Wall Street Journal
The Trump administration decision to keep hundreds of U.S. troops based in Syria was driven by allies who said they wouldn’t stay behind to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State extremist group without an American presence, a senior U.S. defense official said Saturday.
Faced with the likelihood that French and British forces would leave following a U.S. withdrawal, the administration agreed last week to maintain a residual force. Any American presence would mean the U.S. military would need to keep control of the airspace in northeastern Syria and continue logistics operations on the ground, key enticements for allies.
The decision partly reversed President Trump’s order in December to withdraw the more than 2,000 American service members following the defeat of Islamic State’s territorial caliphate. White House officials suggested Friday that roughly 400 American troops would remain and serve as a peacekeeping force. The Pentagon has refused to provide an estimate of the number of U.S. service members currently in Syria and refers to them as troops, not peacekeepers…