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US to withdraw all American troops in Syria

December 19th, 2018 | Tags:
Planning for the pullout has begun and troops will begin leaving as soon as possible, said the official, who was not authorised to publicly discuss military planning and spoke on condition of anonymity. Photo: AP
Associated Press

WASHINGTON DC, USA — The Trump administration will soon withdraw all of the approximately 2,000 American troops from Syria, a U.S. official said Wednesday, December 12, 2018, as President Donald J. Trump declared victory in the mission to defeat Islamic State militants there.

Planning for the pullout has begun and troops will begin leaving as soon as possible, said the official, who was not authorised to publicly discuss military planning and spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday, as Vice President Mike Pence met with top military leaders in the Pentagon, Trump tweeted: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

That declaration of victory is far from unanimous, and the withdrawal decision immediately triggered demands from Congress, including Republicans, for more information and a formal briefing on the matter.

Senator Lindsay Graham, who just returned from Afghanistan, said he was meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis late in the day.

The decision will fulfill Trump’s long-stated goal of bringing troops home from Syria, but military leaders have pushed back, arguing that the IS group remains a threat and could regroup as it battles in Syria’s long-running civil war.

Trump has argued for the withdrawal since he was a presidential candidate.

But the decision underscores the division between him and his military advisers, who have said in recent weeks that pockets of IS militants remain and U.S. policy has been to keep troops in place until the extremists are eradicated.

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