WASHINGTON – The White House said on Thursday that it plans to leave about 200 US troops in Syria, signaling a partial departure from President Trump's statement in December that he will withdraw all 2,000 troops after he called the victory over the Islamic State.
This move was made to allies and Pentagon officials who argued that a complete US withdrawal would risk turning key Syria areas to the Islamic state. He came out on Thursday after a phone call between Turkey, Mr Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which two leaders agreed to continue working together to try to create a "safe area," the White House said.
Ms. Sanders said that "a small peacekeeping group of about 200 people will remain in Syria for some time." She did not specify, and it was not clear whether the American forces of the United Nations would obey. peacekeeping missions in combat zones. The officials of the Ministry of Defense declined to comment and referred to the White House questions.
Senator Lindsay Gray, Republican of South Carolina and vocal critic of Mr Trump's preliminary conclusion, praised this statement on Thursday. Leaving residual force in Syria, "to ensure that ISIS will not return and that Iran will not fill the vacuum that would have remained if we completely left," he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter to the Islamic state.
A senior representative of the Trump administration said that troops would be located in north-eastern Syria, as well as a small outpost in al-Tanfi, in the south-east of the country, near the border with Iraq and Jordan. The officer said that US troops would provide logistics, intelligence and observation to the Allies and provide the necessary information to send air strikes to targets, roles that have little to do with peacekeeping. in Al-Tanf, where US forces trained Syrian militants and monitored the support of armed Iranians in the area, a key station for Iranian forces headed by the Syrian government-controlled territory
t entering the last days. Supported by Americans, the Syrian democratic forces are surrounded by extremists in the last strip of the Islamic state, the Syrian village Bagouz, in the valley of the Euphrates River. Recently, civilians escaped from chaos under firefighting, and there were reports of the surrender of some militants.
US launched land forces in Syria at the end of 2015, after the Islamic state seized land in Iraq and Syria as the leader of extremists, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, imposed a so-called caliphate of brutality.
Last year, Russia threatened to strike Al-Tanf if the US forces did not go. But Moscow refused after more American troops arrived to what the Pentagon saw as "a demonstration of strength."
Officials of the Ministry of Defense urged Mr Trump to leave a small contingent of troops in Syria after the withdrawal of the bulk of the troops. who are now there to continue working with the Kurdish and Syrian soldiers supported by the Americans.
For more than a year, the president expressed his desire to bring troops home, saying that they were sent to fight the Islamic state and their mission is almost complete. In an apparent decision after the December phone call with Erdogan, Mr Trump announced he wants to withdraw troops within a month.
This decision led to the resignation of Jim Mattis, then secretary of defense. It also caused the resignation of Brett McGurk, a special envoy of the president to a coalition struggling with the Islamic state.