Trump Orders Withdrawal of U.S. Forces From Northern Syria, After Pentagon Downplays Possibility

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Donald Trump has ordered a withdrawal of United States forces from northern Syria in the face of a Turkish military offensive targeting Kurdish fighters in the region, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said on October 13, 2019, in an interview with “Face The Nation.”

The withdrawal is happening two days after Trump promised that the United States was not “abandoning” its allies the Kurds in the campaign against the Islamic State.

Trump ordered a withdrawal of about 1,000 United States troops left in northern Syria on October 12. Trump decided indications that Turkey intends to expand its attack “farther south than originally planned and to the west.”

Esper also said that there were signs that the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led, and United States-backed alliance that helped defeat the Islamic State, is “looking to cut a deal” with the Syrian and Russian government.

Esper said: “We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it is a very untenable situation. So I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team, and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria.”

Trump tweeted on the morning of Sunday, October 13 that it was “very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change” and accused “those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars” of pushing the United States to stay in the fight.

He added that the Kurds and Turks have been fighting for years.

Continuing, he tweeted, “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!”

Trump added in another tweet that he was working with members of Congress to impose sanctions on Turkey.

He tweeted: “There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”

After Esper made his comments, a United States official source told the Washington Post that it was not clear if all the 1,000 United States troops which were based in northeastern Syria will come home. He said that it was possible that some would be moved farther south, to a safer location.

The official said: “It is all very fluid right now.”

He concluded that at the current time, the United States intends to keep open its Tanf base in southeastern Syria.

Sources:

Washington Post: Trump orders withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, days after Pentagon downplays possibility

Featured and Top Image Courtesy Of School Of Media and Public Affairs at GWU’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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