USA forces are also in south-eastern Syria, supporting an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters (the Syrian Democratic Forces) that is closing in on the last pocket of territory controlled by IS there, around the town of Hajin in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. Defense Secretary James Mattis said on December 6, "There's more work to be done".
DoD officials say that the troop withdrawal will betray Kurdish allies fighting alongside United States troops in Syria and Iraq.
Her comments came after CNN and other news outlets, citing anonymous sources, reported that the U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is planning a "full" and "rapid" military withdrawal from Syria.
Trump shifted course sharply again in March this year when, in an aside during a speech that took U.S. generals by surprise, he declared, "We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon".
"The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support". "Everything that has followed is implementing the agreement that was made in that call", the official said.
The partnership with the SDF has led to the defeat of ISIS in Syria but outraged North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which views Kurdish YPG forces in the alliance as an extension of a extremist group fighting inside Turkey, Reuters reported.
US officials previously have telegraphed mixed messages on Syria. But the Pentagon, every bit as much as nature, abhors a vacuum, and so we ended up in Syria. However, the statement did not specify when the US will completely eliminate its presence in Syria. An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russian Federation.
Separate statements from the White House and the Pentagon claimed that the USA was embarking on a process of withdrawing its troops from the country. A United States withdrawal, Graham wrote, "will also be seen by Iran and other bad actors as a sign of American weakness in the efforts to contain Iranian expansion". Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close Trump ally, said it would be an "Obama-like mistake" to remove American troops, while Sen. He will certainly face an enormous amount of pushback from within his administration and without (all those #NeverTrump conservatives probably disagree with him on foreign policy more than any other policy topic).
"While the DoD reiterated its position that its mission remains the "enduring defeat" of ISIS, U.S. officials issued statements this quarter regarding Iran and Syria's ongoing civil war that raised questions about the duration of U.S. troops in Syria", the Pentagon's OIG noted.
"We may see a new phase in the Syrian crisis in the coming days, and its features will be shown as Daesh is now limited to specific areas", he said, using another name for IS.
The timing of the troop withdrawal was not immediately clear and US officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity did not disclose details about the deliberations.
Casting himself as showing more resolve than Obama, Trump ordered 59 cruise missiles to strike a Syrian air base. Syrian Kurds are hoping to establish an autonomous region similar to that in neighboring Iraq, Ankara wants to make sure that nothing similar happens in Turkey.