US to withdraw troops completely from Syria

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that “victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign”. 

The United States has started withdrawing its troops from Syria, the White House said on Wednesday, after President Donald Trump declared that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also know as ISIS) has been defeated in the country.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that “victories over ISIS in Syria do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign”.

“We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign,” she added. “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 terrorists’ territory, funding, support and many means of infiltrating our borders.”

Sanders’s comments came after reports surfaced that the US was considering a full troop withdrawal from the country Aljazeera reported.

A complete, rapid withdrawal, if confirmed, would upend assumptions about a longer-term US military presence in Syria, which US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other senior US officials had advocated to help ensure ISIL.

Still, President Donald Trump has previously expressed a strong desire to bring troops home from Syria when possible.

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Prior to Sanders’s statement on Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

The timing of a potential full withdrawal was not immediately clear.

An unnamed US official told Reuters news agency that all State Department personnel are being evacuated from Syria within 24 hours.

The official added that the US plans to pull military forces out of the country once the final stages of the last operation against ISIL are complete and that the time-frame for the troop pullout is expected to be between 60 to 100 days.

The Pentagon declined to comment, saying only that it continued to work with partners in the region.

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