DN - Defence Notes

Trump plans full withdrawal of US troops from Syria

19th December 2018 - 16:21 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Washington DC

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The US will withdraw its troops from Syria, a US official told AFP on 19 December, after President Donald Trump said that America had ‘defeated ISIS’ in the war-ravaged country.

The move will have extraordinary geopolitical ramifications and throws into question the fate of US-backed Kurdish fighters who have been tackling Islamic State jihadists.

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

The US official said the decision was finalised 18 December.

‘Full withdrawal, all means all,’ the official said when asked if the troops would be pulled from all of Syria.

The official would not provide a timeline.

‘We will ensure force protection is adequately maintained, but as quickly as possible,’ the official said.

Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in Syria, most of them on a train-and-advise mission to support local forces fighting IS.

The Pentagon would not confirm the US troop pull-out.

‘At this time, we continue to work by, with and through our partners in the region,’ Pentagon spokesperson Col Rob Manning said.

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