Date of release: 2018/12/19 19:58
US President Donald Trump said the United States “defeated a preacher in Syria,” adding that “that goal was the only reason he kept US troops there.”
“We have defeated a pro-Syrian organization, and this is my only justification for being there during the Trump presidency,” Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday, citing media reports about a decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.
“We are withdrawing our troops from Syria as we move on to the second phase of the international coalition’s counterterrorism campaign,” the White House said in a statement,
adding that the United States and its allies were ready to cooperate at all levels to protect the interests of states wherever needed. On any new land, or to obtain support or funding that allows the terrorist organization to cross our borders.
The Pentagon said in response to the withdrawal plans that the United States would continue to work with its partners in the region.
US media reported that Washington was preparing to withdraw its troops from Syria, in a surprise move that would raise questions about the role of the United States in the region.
CNN quoted a defense official as saying that Washington was planning a “full and rapid withdrawal” of troops, while the Wall Street Journal said the withdrawal would be from northeastern Syria.
There are currently about 2,000 US troops in the country.
The withdrawal plan is a surprise shift to the US strategy, especially after Trump revised his desire, which he repeated many times earlier this year, and decided to keep some 2,000 US troops deployed in Syria to fight the “preacher.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision comes after a telephone call between Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who threatened to launch an attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the main component of Syria’s democratic forces, backed by the United States in its war against the “Daash” organization.
But Ankara is the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit, a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting a rebellion in southeastern Turkey for decades.
Erdogan said last week that Turkey would launch a new operation within days against the people’s protection units, but had not yet set a date for its launch.
The news of the US withdrawal from Syria comes in conjunction with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s description of the US presence in Syria as “illegal”, saying it has become a serious obstacle to the settlement of the Syrian crisis.
Turkey has already intervened against the people’s protection units in the western Euphrates region in the last two years, but has yet to target any area east of the river. One reason is its desire to avoid direct confrontation with US forces.