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US to maintain military presence in Syria 'as long as necessary'

US soldiers [Morning Calm Weekly News/Flickr]

The US said on Tuesday that it would maintain a military presence in Syria "as long as necessary," a Pentagon spokesman told AFP. "We will keep our commitments as long as necessary, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups," explained Eric Bahon. He added that the US forces in Syria would have no timetable to remain or withdraw.

There are about 2,000 US troops in Syria, including Special Forces. They support the Syrian Democratic militants in their fight against Daesh.

According to Bahon, the US withdrawal from Syria will be decided according to facts on the ground. "In order to ensure a Daesh defeat, the coalition must ensure that it does not return, or restore the areas it has lost or conspire to carry out attacks abroad."

This is necessary, he said, "to protect our homeland" and defend allies and partners. "The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria under conditions to combat the threat posed by terrorists and to stabilise the liberated areas."

Mattis: US to fight Daesh in Syria 'as long as they want to fight'

Bahon also said that the US would help the Syrian Democratic militants to become an independent permanent local power with ethnic diversity.

Meanwhile, the People's Protection Units, which form the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, announced that they have removed Daesh from Deir Ez-Zur on the border with Iraq. The local forces have had US and Russian help to do this.

Turkey has announced that it has received US assurances that it will stop supplying weapons to the People's Protection Units, which are linked to a Kurdish party which Ankara has designated as a terrorist organisation.

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