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Troops’ population ‘unchanged’ despite announced withdrawal, says US official

Turkish and US troops are seen along the Syrian-Turkish border on 24 September 2019 [Mustafa Güçlü/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish and US troops are seen along the Syrian-Turkish border on 24 September 2019 [Mustafa Güçlü/Anadolu Agency]

The number of American troops in Syria remains “stable and unchanged” three weeks after the US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal announcement, a US official said on Monday.

“Trump’s decision to protect the oil fields in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ez-Zor has forced the Pentagon to send reinforcements to that area at a time where US soldiers were moving away from areas near the Syrian-Turkish border,” the official told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, pointed out that the US reinforcements had begun to arrive in Deir Ez-zor, while some soldiers were sent to the north of Syria to help in securing the troops’ withdrawal from that area. He added that other soldiers were transferred from Syria to northern Iraq.

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“But overall, the number of American troops in Syria is similar to that before the announcement of the withdrawal in mid-October,” the official added, explaining that the number of soldiers was standing at “below 1,000” while withdrawal was “continuing.”

Over the past few months, the US has repeatedly announced that it is withdrawing its military forces from Syria, only to be countered by later revelations that a large number of troops remain stationed in the country and more are expected to be deployed. Over the past two weeks, some 500 US forces – along with convoys of military equipment and vehicles – reportedly entered bases in northern Syria after withdrawing only a few weeks ago.

The US army is present at several bases and other military posts in Deir Ez-Zor after expelling Daesh from the governorate over the past three years.

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Asia & AmericasMiddle EastNewsSyriaUS
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