United States to pull troops out of Syria within 100 days

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC

A White House official said that "U.S. forces will continue the fight against ISIS" and added that the USA would also use "tools of national power, including economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure" to combat the influence of Iran in the region.

"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 terrorist territory, funding, support, and any means of infiltrating our borders", she said in the statement. Defense Secretary James Mattis said on December 6, "There's more work to be done".

A total pullout of USA troops from Syria would still leave the US military with a sizable presence in the region, including more than 5,000 troops in neighboring Iraq.

President Trump, who has long advocated for the pullout from Syria, made the decision for the "full" and "rapid" withdrawal, a USA defense official told CNN on Wednesday.

The Trump administration will withdraw all of the approximately 2,000 American troops in Syria, according to a U.S. official, as the White House declared victory on Wednesday in its mission to defeat Daesh terrorists there.

The National Counterterrorism Center's guidance from October suggests that while efforts to contain ISIS have seen substantial successes this year, the terror network remains "an adaptive and risky adversary", and in Iraq and Syria, its leaders are relocating to rural safe havens to "support a long-term insurgency".

Islamic State declared its so-called "caliphate" in 2014 after seizing large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

The US has about 2,000 troops in Syria, many of them special forces training local forces to combat ISIS and working with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, according to Reuters.

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. He said it would also put America's Kurdish allies at risk. "We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon".

Kinzinger likened the withdrawal and Trump's proclamation to Barack Obama withdrawing USA troops from Iraq in 2011, allowing ISIS to form and grow in the ensuing years. The presence of USA troops has become "a risky obstacle" to peace in the country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said before the news about the withdrawal broke on Wednesday.

Trump signals full U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria: 'We have defeated ISIS'
US weighs complete withdrawal of troops from Syria: US media

The U.S. military believes ISIS still has several thousand jihadis in Syria.

Hikmat Habib, a Syrian Kurdish, said he has not yet seen any evidence of a withdrawal, but added that the move is "part of the disagreement between influential states in Syria: American-Turkish disagreements, American-Russian disagreements".

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., issued a statement also condemning the withdrawal, saying "the losers are Israel, humanitarian victims, and USA intelligence gathering".

Some analysts said the news will mark the fulfillment of a major Trump campaign promise and indicates the USA believes its war on the Islamic State is coming to an end.

Any other policy, he said, would be "reckless".

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who shares the president's distaste for foreign wars, said on Twitter that he was "happy to see a President who can declare victory and bring our troops out of a war".

James Stavridis, a former Navy admiral who served as top North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander, tweeted today that "Pulling troops out of Syria in an ongoing fight is a big mistake". (ISIS is of course exclusively responsible for its atrocities, as are the Syrian and Iranian regimes for theirs.) All but the most dogmatic interventionists recognize the failure of using military force in Iraq (after overwhelmingly supporting invasion, the American public got there in late 2005). "There may be a new mechanism for resolving the Syrian crisis" based on political processes and United Nations resolutions.

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.

"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.

I hope Trump actually does follow through and pull out troops.

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