World News

USA mulling complete withdrawal of troops from Syria

USA mulling complete withdrawal of troops from Syria

"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency", Mr. Trump tweeted.

The United States has defeated Daesh terrorist group in Syria, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday, adding that it was the only reason he had kept troops in the country.

"The Pentagon didn't announce the decision publicly, saying Wednesday that 'At this time, we continue to work by, with and through our partners in the region", without giving more details.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other Pentagon officials have reportedly urged Trump to leave some forces in Syria, arguing that it would be a mistake to abandon allied forces in the region.

There are about 2,000 USA troops in eastern Syria advising and assisting the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS.

Trump previously expressed his willingness to withdraw USA troops from Syria in April, yet no concrete steps have been taken.

"We have our concerns about Syria, about the threat of Iranian troops in Syria, and we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people, regardless if you have American troops, Russian troops, or any other nation".

Estimates vary as to how many ISIS fighters are left in Syria.

The partnership with the SDF over the past several years has led to the defeat of ISIS but outraged North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which views Kurdish YPG forces in the alliance as an extension of a militant group fighting inside Turkey.

"But the US has relied on the Kurdish forces as the most effective fighting force in Syria against Islamic State, which has been pushed to the brink of defeat", the Journal reported.

More news: Vikings Selected to 2019 Pro Bowl

They were driven from almost all their former territory in Syria previous year in separate campaigns waged by the US-backed SDF on the one hand, and the Russian-backed Syrian government on the other.

The news comes less than a week after President Trump spoke to Turkey's president last week.

Mattis and US State Department officials have long fretted about leaving Syria before a peace agreement can be reached to end the country's brutal civil war.

U.S. military and diplomatic officials have repeatedly said they are committed to remaining in Syria to see the final defeat of ISIS. "You win the fight - and then you win the peace".

US -backed Kurdish forces also are on the verge of capturing some of the final key areas held by the Islamic State east of the Euphrates River.

A US withdrawal could open Trump up to criticism if Islamic State reemerged.

Trump has previously lambasted his predecessor, Barack Obama, for the withdrawal of USA forces from Iraq that preceded an unraveling of the Iraqi armed forces.

Some were launched from neighboring Iraq, where the United States has over 5,000 troops, according to CNN.

The UK-based war monitoring group said the prisoners were among 1,350 civilians and fighters that Islamic State had been holding in territory near the Iraqi border.