General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that less than 1,000 US troops will remain in Syria.
“There will be less than a thousand for sure. And probably in the 500ish frame. Maybe six [hundred] but it’s in that area. But we’re not going to go into specific numbers because we’re still going through the analysis right now,” the US general said in a pre-taped interview with ABC that aired yesterday.
Milley did not give further details on the soldiers’ future mission or the date of their withdrawal, but explained that pressure should be maintained to prevent Daesh re-emerging.
On 19 December last year, US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria after declaring Daesh defeated.
Later in February, General Joseph Votel, commander of United States Central Command announced that Washington was likely to begin withdrawing its ground troops from Syria within weeks following Trump’s order.
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 the oil-rich governorate of Deir Ez-Zor after expelling Daesh from the governorate over the past three years.