A Trump Tweet About Syria, Then Conflicting Reports - Page 2

Troops are coming home, but to what extent hasn't been confirmed
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2018 10:05 AM CST
Updated Dec 19, 2018 1:15 PM CST

  • There are roughly 2,000 US troops in the country, and an equivalent number of ISIS fighters occupying a small area near the Iraq border (though USA Today notes the number of militants thought to span Syria and Iraq is as high as 30,000).
  • CNN reports the 5,000-strong US force in Iraq could launch attacks into Syria if needed and has been doing so in recent weeks.
  • The Journal reports the news follows a call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday, and the paper says talks about a withdrawal "moved rapidly" after that. The US has supported and partnered with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in its fight against ISIS; Erdogan is no fan of the partnership and has spoken of launching an attack on the Kurdish forces.
  • Trump has long voiced his desire to get out of Syria, saying in March, "We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home."
  • Speaking of not being a fan, Politico reports the news was condemned by some Republicans. "If these media reports are true, it will be an Obama-like mistake made by the Trump Administration,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement, saying such a move would be a "big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia." Sen. Marco Rubio called it "a colossal, in my mind, mistake—a grave error that's going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come."
  • As for non-troops, NPR reports State Department staffers who have been working to improve things like water, electricity, and schools will come home, too, and that US citizens living there will be advised to follow suit.
(Read more Syria stories.)

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