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Pentagon refutes reports about plans to leave 1,000 US troops in Syria - Statement

Pentagon refutes reports about plans to leave 1,000 US troops in Syria - Statement

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 18 Mar 2019, 04:15 am

Washington, Mar 18 (Sputnik/UNI): Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford has refuted media reports stating that the US military are allegedly planning to keep nearly 1,000 troops in Syria.

On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported citing US officials that Washington plans to continue supporting Kurdish forces in Syria despite the threats from Ankara to launch a military operation against the Kurds in northern Syria. Sources told the media outlet that these plans require to keep nearly half of the current US military contingent in the country.

"A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect. There has been no change to the plan announced in February and we continue to implement the President's direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence," Dunford said in a statement published on Twitter.

According to Dunford, the United States continues to conduct detailed military planning with the Turkish General Staff to address Turkish security concerns along the Turkey-Syria border.

US President Donald Trump announced in December that he had decided to pull out troops from Syria promising to bring about 2,000 US servicemen back home. The reason for the move, he explained, was the defeat of the Islamic State terrorist group (which is outlawed in Russia) in Syria. However, no exact deadline for the return of troops has been revealed by US officials yet.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in February that the United States would leave a small peacekeeping group of about 200 personnel in Syria "for a period of time." According to media reports, this number has already risen to 400, with 200 troops to be placed in northeast Syria and the other 200 at At-Tanf base in southern Syria.

The US-led coalition of more than 70 members has been conducting military operations against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq since September 2014. The coalition’s activities in Syria are authorized neither by the Syrian government, nor by the UN Security Council. 

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